Perhaps the most common dental issue that I have seen in my years as a dental assistant and hygienist is teeth grinding. For most people, it is a manifestation of some form of stress. It can also come from a misalignment of teeth or a poor “bite”. This elusive phenomenon that most people are unaware of is termed bruxism. In fact, according to Colgate up to 30- 40 million children and adults are affected by bruxism in the U.S. alone. Most of these people are either unaware of their condition and the detrimental effects that can come from teeth grinding.
Bruxism can either occur during the day mostly in situations where people feel anxious or tense. In most cases, teeth grinding happens while you’re sleep and is cleverly termed as nocturnal bruxism. When bruxism is untreated and becomes chronic, it can lead to severe issues:
- TMJ and Jaw pain
- Dull Morning Headaches
- Wearing a way of enamel leading to sensitivity
- Chronic Facial Pain
- Fractured or Damaged teeth
- Damaged Dental Restorations: fillings, crowns, onlays
- Irritated gums
What can be done to combat the wear and tear of your teeth and the extra pressure in your jaw joints? You guessed it; a night guard! During a routine dental exam, your dentist will examine your teeth and jaw paying close attention to how they occlude or how teeth fit together. After gathering evidence, the doctor will determine whether or not you are clenching or grinding and whether or not a night guard is best for you. A dental night guard is an appliance that is placed over the teeth separating them and cushioning the impact of grinding and clenching.
ALL NIGHT GUARDS ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL!
Sure you can go ahead and buy a night guard over the counter once you have diagnosed yourself with bruxism. But therein lies the problem. Problem number one; only a dentist is qualified to diagnose and identify bruxism. There should be no circumstance where patients take it upon themselves to diagnose their dental condition. Problem number 2; a night guard is best made to fit the contours of your teeth as well maintain the health of you “bite” or occlusion. The issue with an over the counter night guard is that it is not custom made for your teeth or how you’re teeth and jaws come together. Only a dentist in conjunction with a dental lab can determine the best and most comfortable night guard that’s made for your teeth and jaw. So don’t wait until your symptoms get worse, see a dentist today about your clenching and grinding before it’s too late.
At Scarsdale Dental Spa & Wellness, we offer comfortable choices to help you correct these problems. We are sure you will be happy you chose us as your new dental home.
Dr. David M. Greene, DMD
As the founder and Executive Director of Scarsdale Dental Spa, Dr. David M. Greene, DMD oversees all clinical services. His high level of skill and understanding nature has allowed him to provide patients with the best in dental care for over 30 years.