Bruxism

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, refers to excessive grinding of the teeth and/or excessive clenching of the jaw, usually occurring when one sleeps. If you wake up with jaw pain, tension headaches, or facial pain, you may be suffering from bruxism. Some people aren’t even aware they are grinding or clenching their teeth at night, until a visit to us reveals significant tooth enamel loss or damage to restorations.

Tension, stress, and anxiety experienced during the daytime can carry over to an individual’s sleep, and lead the person to grind his or her teeth together or clench the teeth unknowingly. Regardless of the cause, however, frequent clenching and grinding wears down the chewing surfaces of the teeth, reduces tooth enamel, and can result in a cracked or chipped tooth, crown, or filling.

Treatment Options

Fortunately, there is a non-invasive and effective solution for teeth grinding, and the tooth enamel damage it can cause, in custom-fabricated nightguards. Nightguards are created through a non-invasive process that includes taking an impression of the bottom and top rows of teeth. The result is a nightguard that is flexible, comfortable, and personalized to your mouth.

Although it’s important to wear your nightguard faithfully if you grind your teeth at night, you can also follow a few self-care tips to help to prevent your teeth grinding from worsening.

  • Reduce tension and stress. Whether you take a warm bath before bed, listen to soothing music, or exercise, practicing stress-relieving activities can help alleviate stress and tension.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine. In some patients, alcohol and caffeine can increase teeth-grinding tendencies.
  • Focus on relaxing jaw muscles. Make a conscious effort to keep your jaw relaxed. A warm washcloth against your cheek, sticking your tongue between your teeth, and avoiding chewing pencils, pens, and gum are all ways to train the muscles of your jaw to stay relaxed. Remember: lips together, teeth apart!

Because you may have bruxism and be unaware of it until complications develop, it's important to know the signs and symptoms of bruxism and to seek regular dental care. If you suspect that bruxism is the cause for your headaches or jaw pain, please contact our office and schedule an appointment.

Call our expert team at (212) 371-1414 or contact us online for more information.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
  • According to your dentist and the American Dental Association, you should brush your teeth at least two times a day. Brushing keeps your teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria-causing plaque. It is also recommended that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride when you brush your teeth. You should spend at least a minute on the top teeth and a minute on the bottom teeth, and remember to brush your tongue; it will help keep your breath smelling fresh!
  • A filling is a synthetic material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity after all of the tooth decay has been removed. Fillings do not generally hurt because your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic. Fillings are made from a variety of different materials, including composites, gold, or ceramic. If you need a filling, be sure to talk to your doctor about what type is best for you and your teeth.
  • Visiting the dentist regularly will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy. Dental care is important because it:

    • Helps prevent tooth decay
    • Protects against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss
    • Prevents bad breath – brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly will help reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath
    • Gives you a more attractive smile and increases your self-confidence
    • Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained by food, drinks, and tobacco
    • Strengthens your teeth so that you can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of your life!
    • ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth at least two times a day, and floss at least once!
    • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities.
    • Avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possibly cavities) and avoid tobacco (this can stain your teeth, cause gum disease, and eventually lead to oral cancer).
    • Don't be afraid to brush your tongue! By brushing your tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque-causing bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your breath fresh.
    • Be sure to schedule your routine checkup. It is recommended that you visit the dentist every six months.
  • Your teeth may feel fine, but it's still important to see the dentist regularly because problems can exist without you knowing. Your smile's appearance is important, and your dentist can help keep your smile healthy and look beautiful. With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth. Today's dentists offer many treatment choices that can help you smile with confidence, including:

    • Professional teeth whitening
    • Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth
    • Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers

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