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Posted on: November 2, 2020
Are Cracked Teeth More Common Now During the Pandemic?
A recent article in The New York Times reported that cracked teeth have been on the rise since the onset of the coronavirus shutdown. Dentists have reported an increase in the number of patients who are complaining of new jaw pain, migraines and sensitive teeth. One dentist stated that there were substantially more incidents of cracked teeth due to bruxism, which was triggered by people working from home during a global pandemic.
Is Bruxism a Permanent Condition?
Bruxism can be cured by eliminating the factors that trigger it. However, many people are unaware that they have bruxism unless they’re informed by their dentist or sleep partner. Bruxism is the term used for grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw. Typically, it occurs during sleep, but can also occur during period of intense or additional stress.
When bruxism continues untreated, it can severely damage your tooth enamel and encourage decay. It can also disrupt your sleep and cause headaches, as well as facial, jaw and neck pain. Some people are more inclined to develop bruxism than others, such as those who:
- Are less than 6 years old and female
- Are very aggressive, competitive, or hyperactive
- Smoke, drink alcohol or caffeine, and take some psychiatric medications
- Have ADHD, epilepsy, sleep apnea or Parkinson’s disease
- Are very emotionally stressed, frustrated, or angry
Can Daytime Bruxism Be Prevented?
Researchers aren’t yet certain of the cause of bruxism but speculate that it may be caused by anger, anxiety, frustration, tension or stress. Whether you experience bruxism more during the day or at night, the following may help deter its onset:
- Quit smoking, especially before you go to bed
- Reduce the amount of alcohol or caffeine you consume, especially before bedtime
- Use techniques such as meditation, listing to soothing music, going for a walk, or taking a warm shower.
Can My Dentist Help Solve My Bruxism?
If you suffer from bruxism, then call our office for an appointment. A bruxism mouth guard may be the answer for you. A night guard can protect your teeth from the extreme damage that bruxism can inflict and may prevent you from developing TMJ.
Will a Night Guard Help Cure Bruxism?
A night guard won’t cure your bruxism, but your dentist may have solutions that will help alleviate its effects. A night guard is the first step; it’s convenient, affordable, and non-invasive. It looks like a whitening tray and doesn’t impair your speech or your sleep as long as it fits properly. It can restore the natural space that should be between your lower and upper teeth, and it cushions the teeth from the damaging effects of bruxism.
Why Might I Need a Night Guard?
A bruxism night guard can alleviate damage to your teeth and dental restorations, and it can relieve the jaw pain of TMJ and the morning headaches that often accompany bruxism.
What’s Meant by TMJ?
TMJ is an acronym for the temporomandibular joint. TMJ syndrome is a disorder that affects the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. This joint is called the temporomandibular joint, thus the name. If you have the following symptoms, then you may have temporomandibular joint syndrome:
- Clicking or popping when you open or close your mouth
- Facial edema on one side
- Pain or sensitivity around the ear, face, jaw, neck, or shoulders
- Problems with chewing or opening wide
- Your jaw gets stuck in one position
Will a Night Guard Help With TMJ?
A night guard can be an affordable, non-invasive method for treating TMJ or bruxism, and it’s often covered by insurance. Properly fitted, a night guard can alleviate the discomfort and damage associated with the symptoms of TMJ and bruxism.
Is a Night Guard Necessary for Jaw Clenching?
If you ignore the symptoms of bruxism, you can severely damage your jaw and teeth as well as your reconstructive dental work. Untreated bruxism causes the majority of root canals, grinding your teeth can remove up to 2mm of tooth enamel in a few years, and the damage caused to the tooth enamel encourages dental caries. The force exhibited by jaw clenching can cause severe muscle pain in the jaw.
Over-the-counter mouthguards are available at your local pharmacy, but it will be worth the extra cost to get a mouth guard that is customized to your teeth and jaw. A night guard will ensure that:
- Your jaw is properly aligned throughout the night, which can alleviate the jaw pain associated with TMJ.
- A custom-fitted night guard will fit better, so you’ll be more comfortable, and it won’t fall out while you sleep.
- Custom-fitted night guards are of higher quality, so they’ll last longer and be more comfortable than an over-the-counter model.
How Do I Get a Custom Night Guard?
Your dentist is the best source for a custom-fitted night guard. Call our office to schedule an appointment, and we can help you.
It’s a very simple process that requires two office visits. First, we’ll make an impression of your teeth and gums, and then we’ll send it to a lab for fabrication. When we receive it from the lab, then you’ll return to our office, we’ll adjust it for fit and comfort, and you’ll be done.
What’s the Cost of a Night Guard for Bruxism?
Although an over-the-counter model may be less expensive initially, the quality, fit, and longevity of a customized model are worth the extra expense. Not only will your custom-fitted mouth guard be more comfortable, but it’ll also provide better protection from the deleterious effects of bruxism and TMJ. During your initial consultation, we’ll let you know what the final cost will be for your custom-fitted mouth guard, but insurance often covers most or all of the cost. If your insurance covers a substantial percentage of the cost, you may ultimately spend less for your custom night guard than you would for an over-the-counter model.
If you have cracked teeth or other dental damage due to bruxism or TMJ, then call American Dental Center at (908) 279-0623 to schedule an appointment. Don’t delay seeking treatment for bruxism or TMJ because it can have severe and adverse effects on your oral health. Call us today for an appointment.
We look forward to speaking with you.