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Are Cracked Teeth on the Rise?

Stress and anxiety are common reactions during the coronavirus pandemic. People worry about the economy, unemployment, their health and uncertainty about the future. College students worry about their scholarships as universities and colleges suspend classes. Other people have a hard time dealing with isolation. Sometimes. when people are anxious, they grind their teeth in their sleep without realizing it. National media reports are quoting dentists who say they are seeing an increase in patients complaining of cracked teeth and fillings, a common sign of teeth grinding.

In fact, The New York Times, published a piece speaking to the growing incidence of cracked teeth, from what dentists believe is pandemic-induced stress. Unfortunately, since we may be facing the effects of the pandemic for a long time to come, it is very important to consider your dental health as well during this time. If you think you may be clenching or grinding your teeth, read on for more information and a number of ideas on how we might be able to help.

What Is Bruxism?

Bruxism is when you clench, grind or gnash your teeth in your sleep. You may not know it, but your dentist will notice the signs. Grinding can wear down your teeth, fracture them, or crack a filling or crown. It will also give you morning headaches and contribute to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Some people are more likely to develop bruxism, including people who are:

  • Anxious, stressed or feeling aggressive
  • Young people are more likely to grind their teeth at night than older persons
  • Hyperactive individuals or those who have ADHD
  • Heavy alcohol users
  • Tobacco users
  • Individuals with sleep apnea
  • People taking certain psychiatric medications

What If I Clench My Teeth During the Day?

Some people grind their teeth or clench their jaw during the daytime, often unconsciously. They may do it when they are angry, frustrated or concentrating intensely. Once a person realizes what they are doing, they can practice stress relieving activities that work for them, such as:

  • Taking a walk
  • Spending time in nature
  • Exercising
  • Meditation
  • Petting a dog or cat
  • Listening to music
  • Taking a hot bath

How Do Dentists Treat People with Bruxism?

If someone tells you you’re making grinding noises in your sleep or your dentist sees signs you grind your teeth, he or she can help. A custom mouth guard you wear at night can prevent tooth damage and help you sleep better. A night guard, along with practicing stress reduction tactics, is the least invasive way to treat bruxism. Please call us to see how we can help you.

What Is a Custom Bruxism Mouth Guard?

You can buy a one-size-fits-all or a boil-and-bake night guard online or at your local drugstore. The only place you can obtain a custom-made night guard is at a dental office. Custom appliances are made specifically to fit your mouth and teeth, so they are more comfortable to wear. They also offer better protection for your teeth. Please contact us if you’re interested in the best bruxism protection for your teeth and mouth.

Why Do People Wear Mouth Guards at Night?

Repairing damaged or worn down teeth can be costly. Replacing cracked fillings, crowns or veneers is is also expensive and often unnecessary if you have a night guard that you’ll wear every night. People also wear bruxism guards to avoid the annoying headaches and jaw pain teeth grinding can cause. The night guard works to cushion your teeth, preventing any more damage from occurring, saving you money in the long run.

What Is the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)?

Temporomandibular joints are the joints which connect your jaw to your skull. They let you move your jaw. People often say they have TMJ when they actually have a TMJ disorder, also called TMJ syndrome. A TMJ disorder is a condition which interferes with the jaw’s movement. Symptoms of a TMJ disorder may include:

  • An aching jaw
  • Headaches
  • Pain near your ear
  • Trouble opening your mouth all the way
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Your jaw makes a clicking sound when you move it
  • Your jaw locks

Can a Bruxism Mouth Guard Help with TMJ Disorder Pain?

While a blow to the face or other facial injuries can certainly cause TMJ disorders, it’s often the result of tooth grinding or excessive jaw clenching. A dentist can design a custom mouth guard for you to wear at night to prevent you from putting added stress on the joints.

Why Is Getting a Custom Nighttime Mouth Guard Important?

Long-term teeth grinding or jaw clenching can cause tooth cracks and wear. It can also crack your restorations, such as fillings and crowns. If you also wear the enamel off your teeth, you can get more cavities.

Where Do I Get a Custom-made Mouth Guard to Wear at Night?

You have to see a dentist who will determine the right type of night guard to meet your unique needs. He or she will ensure your night guard is perfectly designed for your mouth and teeth by creating an impression for a dental lab. The lab will make a mold to fabricate your night guard. Once the lab sends it to your dentist, he or she will make certain it fits you correctly. You’ll quickly get used to wearing it.

How Much Do Custom Bruxism Mouth Guards Cost?

You would need to have an exam from one of our skilled dentists to learn your exact cost, as it varies. We base your cost on the specifications of your custom device and the materials it is made from. If you have dental insurance, please check your policy. It may pay for all or part of your night guard.

If you suspect you are grinding your teeth or you have tooth damage, such as a cracked tooth or filling, please contact our dental office. One of our experienced dentists can look for signs you are grinding your teeth and find a way to protect your teeth from further damage. Our dentist can also repair any existing damage, such as a fractured tooth.

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