Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common dental concern that we treat in our Raleigh, NC dental office. Our patients are often unaware that they’ve been grinding their teeth. This is because teeth grinding often occurs while the patient is sleeping. While this action might seem harmless at first, teeth grinding can result in the development of long-term issues like chronic jaw pain or even unwanted dental damages. Dr. Emily Ann Reece is your trusted restorative and general dentist in Raleigh, NC. She is here to help you combat your teeth grinding habit and resolve any symptoms before they result in long-term issues.
Bruxism Treatment in Raleigh, NC
Teeth grinding can affect patients of all ages. To combat this issue, Dr. Reece often recommends the use of a custom night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep. The night guard is custom to your mouth to maintain your maximum comfort level while you sleep. It will fit snugly over your dental structures and protect them from damage. Even if you are able to grind your teeth together using this oral appliance, the night guard will take on the brunt of the pressure instead of your teeth. It also holds your jaw in a healthier resting position as you sleep so that you wake up with a fully rested and restored jawbone.
Why You Need to Treat Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding that goes untreated can cause further oral health problems. Your teeth wear down faster and may even crack or break. This leads to a need for restorative dentistry to get you back a healthy, functional smile. These issues can also cause you to be in a lot of pain when you’re doing necessary things like eating.
Prolonged teeth grinding is also one of the main causes of TMJ disorders. This condition occurs when your jaw joint is no longer functioning properly. This is usually due to an uneven bite or trauma or damage to this jaw joint. You may experience a loss in jaw function. Your jaw may pop and crack while you’re chewing, get stuck shut, or you may have trouble using it normally. The longer your teeth grinding goes untreated, the more likely you are to suffer from more severe consequences.
What Causes Teeth Grinding in The First Place?
Patients often notice that they are more prone to grinding their teeth when experiencing high levels of stress. This is especially common in patients who hold a lot of tension in their jawbone throughout the day. We encourage patients to practice mindfulness throughout the day and leave themselves small reminders to relax their facial muscles periodically as they work. While teeth grinding can be difficult to self-diagnose, some symptoms to look out for include:
- Facial pain.
- Tension headaches.
- Stiff jaw joints
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Worn-down teeth
- Increased teeth sensitivity
If you experience any of these symptoms outside of our office, be sure to report them to your dentist at your next appointment. It’s important that we understand the range of your symptoms to properly diagnose and treat your teeth grinding. Request an appointment by calling us at 919.646.6294 today.
What happens if you don’t treat bruxism?
Teeth grinding can cause damage to your teeth and jaw muscles if you don’t seek preventative treatment quickly. We recommend scheduling a dentist appointment if you seem to wake up with headaches or stiffness in your jaw on a regular basis.
Can bruxism be cured?
Unfortunately there is no cure for teeth grinding, however treatment can reduce its frequency and damaging effects, as well as relieve symptoms.
How long does bruxism take to heal?
It may take anywhere from 13–19 weeks to respond to bruxism treatment. This varies on the severity and frequency of your grinding habits.
What does bruxism pain feel like?
Patients commonly describe bruxism pain as a dull ache in the bone or as a sharp pain in the joint. The most common location of discomfort from bruxism is in the jaw muscles.
Can teeth grinding cause infection?
Without treatment, bruxism can lead to a tooth abscess, fractured or loose tooth. Bruxism can bring on symptoms of TMJ and ultimately it may result in tooth loss.