Bruxism is not a common word, but the problem it describes is often seen in our dental offices. Simply put, patients with bruxism grind their teeth, during the day or at night. Many clients never realize they grind their teeth unless it disturbs someone they sleep with or their dentist notices signs of wear on the dental enamel. While the cause is a subject of debate, the need to protect your teeth is not. Left untreated, some people actually manage to wear down the enamel on one or more teeth!
Bruxism is also responsible for other problems. While some people manifest it by making chewing motions, others clench the teeth while grinding them, causing significant strain to the temporomandibular joint, the muscles of the neck and the head. Headaches and unexpected jaw pain are often the result.
There are a number of potential treatments to stop bruxism, if it is considered severe enough to warrant full treatment. Each case usually has different root causes and must be investigated based on the patient’s circumstances. In the interim, we can prevent significant damage to the teeth by fitting the patient with a dental guard that is typically worn over the teeth at night.
Patients involved in sports are familiar with the concept of a dental guard, commonly called a “mouth guard.” You don’t buy a professionally made dental guard in a sporting goods store and form fit it yourself. The dentists of the Sacramento Dentistry Group create a true dental guard by first making a mold of your teeth. Our dental lab then crafts the dental guard so that it fits perfectly over your upper or lower jaw. Dental guards do not slip or move once they are put in place for the night. Patients readily adapt to wearing them and generally find that they are comfortable and form fitting. Dental guards stop the teeth from damaging one another and in some cases even lessen or cure the patient’s bruxism.
If a loved one or friend has pointed out that you grind your teeth at night or during the day, schedule a visit with the Sacramento Dentistry Group. If we notice typical wear patterns for bruxism during an exam, please accept the fact that untreated bruxism can get worse and will cause severe dental issues. With a dental guard and treatment, you can lessen the effects and potentially cure this harmful habit.