How Your Dentist Can Help You With Bruxism
With the daily stresses of life, we do see a fair amount of bruxism resulting from anxiety and medication. Your dentist will always check for signs of bruxism at each of your check-ups and appointments. If your dentist suspects bruxism, they will monitor the condition of wear and tear of your teeth over the next few visits to see if the problem is causing minor or severe damage to your teeth.
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is the involuntary gnashing, grinding, or clenching of teeth. It is usually an unconscious occurrence, whether the person is awake or asleep. It is often caused by fatigue, anxiety, emotional stress, or fear and is associated with gaps or irregularities in the bite. For instance a missing tooth or the teeth not lining up just right according to the top and bottom jaw. Bruxism often results in abnormal wear patterns on the teeth, periodontal breakdown, and joint or neuromuscular problems. Basically, the word bruxism and grinding are interchangeable.
What Your Dentist Will Do For You
During regular dental exams, your dentist will check for signs of bruxism. They will be able to tell if you grind your teeth by observing any wear and tear on the surface of your teeth, especially since your last visit.
To evaluate the extent of bruxism, your dentist will check for; tenderness in your jaw muscles, any damage to your teeth, the underlying bone and inside of your cheeks, (usually with the help of X-rays), and any obvious dental abnormalities, such as broken or missing teeth.
In the case of damaged or missing teeth, a dentist at Dawson Dental can perform an implant procedure the same day of your specified appointment. Or, if you need a full replacement, we call this service Teeth-in-a-Day All-On-4. This treatment involves four strategically placed implants, with a full row of teeth attached to both the top and bottom arches. For more information or to see if you qualify, visit us here.
When Bruxism Is Your Diagnosis
If a diagnosis of bruxism is made, your dentist will ask you about your oral and general health, in order to determine the cause of teeth grinding. Oftentimes, no action needs to be taken. Children may even outgrow teeth grinding. The practical procedures we can offer are:
- Splints and mouth guards. These are designed to keep teeth separated to avoid the damage caused by clenching and grinding. They can be constructed of hard acrylic or soft materials and fit over your upper or lower teeth.
- Dental correction. In severe cases, when tooth wear has led to sensitivity or the inability to chew properly, we can help, by reshaping the chewing surfaces of your teeth or using crowns to repair the damage. At Dawson Dental we guarantee all dental fillings, crowns, bridges, veneers, and implants.
We Can Help You With Referrals
When we see signs of teeth grinding, our priority is to provide a patient referral. If your bruxism appears to be related to significant sleep issues, your doctor may recommend a sleep study in a specialized clinic. They can conduct tests that will confirm teeth grinding and determine if you have sleep apnea or other sleep disorders.
If your teeth grinding is related to anxiety or other psychological issues, you may be referred to a licensed therapist or counselor.
One or more of these approaches may help relieve bruxism:
- Stress or anxiety management. If you grind your teeth because of stress, you may be able to prevent the problem by learning strategies that promote relaxation, such as meditation. If the bruxism is related to anxiety, advice from a licensed therapist or counselor may help.
- Behavior change. Once you discover that you have bruxism, you may be able to change the behavior by practicing proper mouth and jaw position. Ask us at Dawson Dental to show you the best position for your mouth and jaw.
- Biofeedback. If you’re having a hard time changing your habits, you may benefit from biofeedback, a method that uses monitoring procedures and equipment to teach you to control muscle activity in your jaw.
Medication may help in severe cases of bruxism where your teeth are becoming increasingly damaged and you’re experiencing a lot of discomfort. The following exemplifies some other treatments outside of dental care, but that can be made available through a dentist’s referral:
- Muscle relaxants. In some cases, your doctor may suggest taking a muscle relaxant before bedtime, for a short period of time.
- Botox injections. A form of botulinum toxin, Botox injections may help some people with severe bruxism who don’t respond to other treatments.
- Medication for anxiety or stress. Your doctor may recommend short-term use of antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to help you deal with stress or other emotional issues that may be causing your bruxism.
A dentist’s referral could result in treatment of other bruxism-causing factors, such as:
- Medications. If you develop bruxism as a side effect of a drug, your doctor may change your medication or prescribe a different one.
- Sleep-related disorders. Addressing sleep-related disorders such as sleep apnea may improve sleep bruxism.
- Medical conditions. If an underlying medical condition, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is identified as the cause, treating this condition may improve bruxism.
At Dawson Dental, we make sure our patients feel protected and safe with our guarantee. For patients looking for financial options to facilitate their dental treatments, we offer 0% financing. You will get the same dedicated service with us every time.