Bruxism/Teeth Grinding Treatment
The Dentist Explains Why People Grind Their Teeth & What Will Happen If Left Untreated
Teeth grinding is clinically referred to as bruxism. It is the act of consciously or unconsciously clenching your teeth either during the day or while you sleep. Bruxism affects both the teeth and all of the structure near it, including your head.
People grind their teeth for a number of reasons. Doctors believe that it is because of stress. Dentists say that it happens because one’s teeth are not properly aligned with each other.
The teeth are put under enormous pressure which can wear away the enamel leading to exposed dentin and eventually teeth breakage. Bruxism is particularly bad if you have expensive dental work as grinding your teeth can destroy dental work as well as your natural teeth. Bruxism also puts great strain on the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) and can cause aching jaw and facial muscles and morning headaches.
How does the dentist protect your teeth against bruxism?
Our dentist will create a customized mouth night guard for tooth and enamel protection. Impressions will be taken and sent to our lab. In one to two weeks your night guard will be ready.
How does the dentist help treat bruxism?
Neuromuscular and orthopedic dental treatment involves relaxing the muscles to their habitual state. We use a TENS unit (Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation), similar to those used in physical therapy practices. The TENS unit is used to deliver gentle electronic stimulation to your muscles. After about 45-60 minutes, this electrically induced ‘excercise’ will allow your muscles to overcome their programming. Once your muscles are relaxed, Dr. Gelfand will confirm and record the relaxed position of your jaw through a process called bite registration. Bite Registration is done by placing a fast setting putty-like material between your teeth, then guiding the jaw to the desired position.
Dr. Gelfand will then make a custom orthotic to reposition your jaw into a more physiologic resting position. This initial phase is completely reversible and allows us to stabilize your new, more harmonious bite. Once an acceptable comfort level has been reached, a decision on long term options can be made. Your orthotic is removable, but is meant to be worn full time as your muscles become “deprogrammed”.