We all feel stress at one time or another. On one hand, stress can be the thing that motivates us to achieve great things by pushing us to work harder and faster. However, stress can also cause problems, especially if your stress is poorly managed or chronic. Stress is known to cause many health problems or worsen them, and your teeth and gums are not an exception to this. A common oral health problem that is caused by excess stress is called bruxism; it is also referred to simply as teeth-grinding. Here again, everyone clenches or grinds their teeth from time to time, but those who suffer from bruxism do it compulsively, to the point that it can cause severe damage to the teeth, gums, and jaws, as well as the alignment of the jaws. Bruxing can happen at any time, but the majority of sufferers experience the disorder during sleep. This makes it difficult to “unlearn” the habit, and other interventions are required.
In our Cincinnati, OH dental practice (Anderson Dental Care), we can help manage your bruxism symptoms and prevent the devastating impact it can have on your oral health. We will provide you with a high-quality, durable, custom-made nightguard (a mouthguard designed to be worn during sleep) that will stop your teeth from grinding and damaging one another.
The Cost of Avoiding Treatment for Bruxism
If you’re not sure if you have bruxism, you should make an appointment with your dentist immediately. Your dentist will be able to assess the condition of your teeth and look for the telltale signs of teeth-grinding.
Bruxism that is not corrected quickly can cause the development of other serious problems. Specifically these are Cracked Tooth Syndrome and TMD (temporomandibular disorder, sometimes called TMJ).
What is Cracked Tooth Syndrome?
Cracked Tooth Syndrome (CTS) is the occurrence of small fissures or cracks in your teeth. These fissures can range in depth: some may be entirely superficial and limited to the tooth’s surface, others may go down as far as the center of the tooth, leaving the dental pulp (the tiny organ made of nerves and other tissues that provides nutrients and other important functions for the tooth) exposed to infection. CTS occurs in the lower molars for the most part; these are the teeth that bear most of the impact and pressure of chewing (and teeth grinding). CTS can also occur in parts of the teeth that are hidden below the gum line.
If you have been diagnosed with Cracked Tooth Syndrome in the past, it increases your likelihood of experiencing further fracturing of your teeth. However, CTS can be difficult to diagnose: symptoms differ from patient to patient (ranging from occasional pain or temperature sensitivity, or sensitivity to specific foods and beverages all the way up to teeth that feel very loose). When symptoms occur, they do so inconsistently, further complicating diagnosis. On top of all that, the cracks are often so fine and small that they may not even show up on X-rays.
Obviously, it is best to prevent CTS before it happens!
TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder)
TMD (for temporomandibular joint Disorder; TMJ is the abbreviation for the joint itself) is a problem that is caused by misalignment of the jaws. TMD has many causes, but bruxism is one of the largest contributors of cases. TMD can make it difficult or painful to open your mouth, and can even lock it in the opened or closed position. However, most people experience TMD in the form of chronic headaches and other pain.
A nightguard can stop the bruxism that can either lead to or worsen TMD, and it can even help to reposition the jaws to reduce its symptoms.
Why Can’t I Treat Bruxism With An Over-The-Counter Mouthguard?
While you can get a night guard over-the-counter, you should know that a good fit (which is only possible with a custom-made nightguard specifically for your teeth) is critical to the effectiveness of these appliances. Furthermore, over-the-counter nightguards are often made of materials that don’t last or provide much protection. The night guards at Anderson Dental Care are made of kevlar, the same material used to make safety equipment like bulletproof vests!
Store-bought mouthguards may be cheaper, but ultimately they are a lesser product that is less effective at treating the problem it was designed to address. Your best value and your best oral health are at stake!
Our nightguards are able to last as long as 15 – 20 years, because they are made of tough, durable kevlar, and their superior, custom fit will reduce the occurrence of wear.
Experiencing Any of These Symptoms?
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect you might be suffering from bruxism, TMD, or CTS, you should come in immediately for an appointment. Your problem will only get worse, and if that happens you may have to undergo intensive procedures such as root canal or even the extraction of teeth that have become too damaged to save.
Don’t delay! Dial (513) 231-7755 or click here to book your appointment online!