Treatment for Teeth Grinding
Do you ever wake up in the morning with sore teeth and jaws? If so, there’s a chance that you may be grinding your teeth. Teeth grinding (known as bruxism) may develop at any age, and it’s a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth, usually done unconsciously while you sleep, but it can also occur when you are awake.
Common telltale signs are muscle soreness, and wear patterns that appear as flat spots on the edges of your front and/or back teeth. In extreme cases, your teeth may begin to chip, crack or break. You may notice pain while chewing or temperature sensitivity as wear progresses.
So how can you stop clenching or grinding your teeth? It truly depends on the cause. it could be due to a sleep disorder, or lifestyle factors such as stress and anxiety. Regardless of when it happens or why, teeth grinding may be causing changes to your teeth and bite, making it important to get a comprehensive exam to develop a treatment plan that is specialized for you. After an exam, U Shine Dental will implement a treatment plan. It may include an occlusal appliance and, possibly, behavioural modification methods.
The best way to protect your teeth and prevent tooth wear and fracture is to wear an occlusal appliance. Both Dr. Forman and Dr. Ranu have extensive training through continuing education in the use and design of grinding appliances. These appliances are very technical and precise in nature, and not merely something to cover the teeth, but help to restore and perfect your bite while it’s worn.
The appliance needs to fit perfectly without rocking and can only be adjusted properly using your own teeth as a guide. U Shine Dental does not use some of the softer and easier to fit appliances as they do not allow your bite to be refined properly and they can promote chewing and muscle hyperactivity which is not desired.
Grinding Appliance Fitting Procedure
First, we’ll take molds of your teeth and register your bite using a piece of wax. The molds are sent to our lab and the appliance is manufactured. At your insertion appointment the appliance will be tested and adjusted to the correct tightness and fit.
The bite will be checked and perfected by adjusting the appliance so that your jaw can slide freely and your bite is even all around your mouth. Approximately a week later you will return for a bite assessment. As your muscles relax, the force distribution can change and the appliance may need refining. From there, we will check the appliance once a year at your hygiene maintenance appointment. The plastic will wear as you use it and may need adjustment.
What Could Happen If I Don’t Take Action?
Teeth are made of crystals just like glass. Muscle strength varies but your jaw muscles are the strongest in the body and they can break your teeth. When this occurs the teeth can be beyond repair and have to be extracted. When the missing tooth is replaced, it is subjected to the same pressure that caused the original tooth to fail and cycle can repeat.
If your teeth don’t break, but do crack, it can become painful to chew and a root canal may be required. The treatment, which may involve crowns are, again subject to the same pressure which caused the original tooth to fail.
Even if your teeth don’t break or crack, they can show extreme wear which could cause pain while chewing or temperature sensitivity. Aesthetic issues may also be present. The only way to treat this is extensive reconstructive dentistry; potentially with root canals, posts, crowns, implants, etc. which are extremely time intensive and expensive. Again all of this work is then subjected to the same pressure that caused the problem in the first place.
In short, as intrusive as the appliance may seem, it is the best alternative. Wear the appliance as much as possible to avoid the more severe consequences discussed above.
Contact U Shine Dental today to discuss a custom bite appliance to protect your teeth from harm.