night guardBruxism involves repetitively clenching the jaw or grinding the teeth, and it can lead to an assortment of physical and dental problems that include:

  • Chipped teeth
  • Eroded dental enamel
  • Headaches
  • Loose teeth
  • Jawbone malformations
  • Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
  • Cracked teeth
  • Sores on the inner cheeks
  • Misalignment of teeth
  • Facial pain
  • Damaged dental restorations
  • Irritated tongue
  • Earaches
  • Poor sleep quality

Approximately 25 percent of the population has bruxism at some time in their lives, but some individuals have chronic bruxism.

What Are the Reasons For Having Bruxism?

It is possible to grind your teeth at night or during the day, and some individuals have both problems. Researchers believe that there are different reasons for having bruxism, including trying to relieve stress or because someone has poor dental alignment. You might grind your teeth when you are angry, or you might clench your jaw when you feel sad. All of these behaviors can lead to severe tooth damage that requires repairs such as fillings or dental crowns.

Certain Health Conditions Can Cause Bruxism

Bruxism is more common in family groups, and certain types of medications can lead to jaw clenching or teeth grinding. A variety of health conditions can also cause bruxism, including:

  • Sleep apnea
  • Eating disorders
  • Epilepsy
  • Previous facial trauma
  • Parkinson’s disease

An individual who lives alone may not realize that she has bruxism, but someone who lives with a spouse will make a lot of noise at night while clenching her jaw or grinding her teeth. When you suspect that you have bruxism, immediate treatment is necessary to prevent additional damage to your teeth, gums and jawbone.

A Dentist in Fairfax Can Repair Teeth that Are Damaged By Teeth Grinding

A dentist can measure your teeth to determine how much enamel has been worn away from teeth grinding. Fixing damaged teeth is imperative to avoid an infection in the underlying pulp and nerves. Dr. Bezik, a dentist in Fairfax, VA, can cover a severely damaged tooth with a dental crown, but if someone continues to grind her teeth, then the restoration will become damaged from the same type of behavior. An occlusal splint/guard should be considered to prevent further damages to the tooth.

What Are Occlusal Splints/Guards?

A dentist can create occlusal splints/guards or bite guards that are customized to fit over your teeth to protect the dental enamel from damage. These devices are typically worn at night, and the items resemble aligners that are used for repairing dental misalignments. A dentist will collect a mold of a patient’s mouth to make occlusal splints/guards, but these devices will degrade rapidly from the teeth grinding, requiring a replacement occasionally.

An Occlusal Splint/Guard Can Prevent Chronic Pain In the Teeth and Face

Wearing an occlusal splint/guard at night can also help to prevent temporomandibular joint dysfunction, helping to prevent jaw joint pain and headaches that disrupt normal daily living. Visit Metro Dental Health in Fairfax, VA, to have an examination to determine if you have bruxism so that you can undergo treatment to overcome the condition. By wearing occlusal splints/guards, you can protect your teeth and jaw joints. Contact us for an appointment today!

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