To keep our mouths healthy and clean, we know to brush and floss regularly and get regular cleanings at the dentist. Even with all these critical steps for good oral hygiene, people who experience teeth grinding may be damaging their teeth without ever knowing it.
This disorder can slowly cause serious dental and jaw damage over time. At Dental Spot in Burwood, we help protect our patients’ teeth by using mandibular advancement splints for their teeth grinding.
What Is Teeth Grinding?
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a disorder in which a person clenches and/or gnashes their teeth. Almost everyone does this from time to time, and for the most part, intervention is unnecessary. Occasionally grinding your teeth usually causes little-to-no measurable damage.
Teeth grinding can occur while you are awake or asleep. Those who experience bruxism while they are awake may be coping with emotional disorders. People who struggle with teeth grinding during the day often have issues associated with stress, anger, or anxiety. Daytime bruxism also may simply be a habit formed while concentrating.
Nighttime bruxism is far more common. Those who grind their teeth at night may be dealing with a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or have missing or crooked teeth. An uneven bite after a dental filling or restoration can also cause you to grind your teeth while you sleep.
For those with a severe case of teeth grinding, intervention is usually considered medically necessary. Many people with this disorder do not realize they have it until symptoms arise, or until a partner complains about hearing a grinding noise while they sleep.
Symptoms of nighttime bruxism can include waking up while sleeping, disfigurement of teeth, tooth tenderness, tight jaw muscles, earaches, neck and facial discomfort, and damage to the insides of cheeks. Small cracks or chips in the teeth may not be immediately noticeable but can damage the integrity of your teeth’s structure.
If left untreated, damage from teeth grinding can cause infections in the pulp of the teeth, loose teeth, and receding gums. Eventually, this disorder can cause teeth to be ground completely down, making dental operations necessary.
Who Is at Risk of Teeth Grinding?
There are a number of risk factors that increase your chances of teeth grinding including age, stress, family history, and taking certain medications. Also, having certain disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, dementia, GERD, sleep apnea, and ADHD increase your chances of teeth grinding.
If teeth grinding goes untreated, it can cause severe dental problems. If you suspect you or a loved one may suffer from bruxism, see a dentist immediately to determine if there are signs of teeth grinding.
What Is A Mandibular Advancement Splint?
Mandibular advancement splints are prescription medical devices which move the lower jaw forward, slightly enabling air to move more readily through nasal passages. They are fitted in much the same way as a mouthguard but are made of a harder plastic and will last much longer. This helps patients who suffer from temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD) resulting from teeth grinding.
TMJD, also called TMJ, is a disorder involving dysfunction and discomfort in the muscles that move the jaw and joints that connect the jaw to the skull. Clicking, snapping, popping, and sharp discomfort are all symptoms of TMJD.
The purpose of these splints for teeth grinding is to minimise occlusal interferences. These medical devices keep a patient’s jaw stationary and in an ideal position. Using a splint will not only stop the teeth grinding, but may also help with behaviour changes.
Your dentist may ask you about your lifestyle and stress level, as these can be an important contributing factor in teeth grinding. In addition to the splint, your dentist may offer you other treatments, including medication and lifestyle advice, to help reduce stress.
This is determined on a case-by-case basis. Also, make sure to discuss thoroughly any medical or psychological conditions you may suffer from and any medications you may currently be taking.
At Dental Spot, we have a dynamic team of young dental professionals. Our state-of-the-art practice in Burwood uses cutting-edge technology to keep us at the forefront of modern dentistry.
We have numerous payment options including direct transfers, EFTPOS, HICAPS, and credit cards. We also accept most dental insurances and vouchers such as NSW Health Vouchers, CBDS, and Medicare.
We are dedicated to gentle, caring dentistry with your entire family in mind. If you or someone in your family thinks they may benefit from a splint for teeth grinding, call us today on (02) 9158 6115.