What is Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)?

Damage and wear to the enamel happens over time, but it isn’t always caused by dental decay. In many patients, wear is accelerated because of bruxism (habitual teeth grinding). Patients with severe bruxism wear down the enamel up to 10 times faster than those without it. This causes chips, cracks, fissures, crowding, premature tooth loss and can be extremely painful and cause more severe problems if you do not seek treatment as soon as possible. If you want to protect your teeth, Dr. Morrow in Yonkers, New York, often recommends night guards as an effective bruxism treatment.

What Causes Bruxism?

Occasional teeth grinding or unnecessary pressure on the enamel is not uncommon, especially in children, and though most grow out of the habit, some carry it with them for the rest of their lives. Your teeth are already subjected to so much, and add to this, unnecessary wear could mean a premature end to your smile. Those who suffer from severe bruxism, or persistent teeth grinding, damage both their teeth and jaw joints. It can happen day or night, and often, the patient doesn’t even know it is happening. Some grind their teeth while driving; others while they concentrate; and some while they play sports. Though it is almost impossible to pin down the exact causes of bruxism in every patient, some contributing factors might include:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Tension
  • Fatigue
  • Sleep apnea
  • Pain response
  • Coping mechanism
  • High emotions
  • Missing teeth
  • Teeth growing in
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Improper alignment
  • A concentration habit

How Do I Know if I Grind My Teeth?

Most people who consistently grind their teeth often have an idea about their problem. They will often wake up with headaches or consistent jaw pain. They can develop sensitivity as the enamel thins. They suffer from muscle fatigue or decreased mobility in the jaw and even experience earaches or hearing loss.

When Do I Seek Treatment for Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)?

Bruxism Treatment Yonkers | Teeth Grinding TreatmentThe moment you suspect you might habitually grind your teeth you should consult with Dr. Morrow. At the very least, he will be able to chart out any changes in your enamel and make changes before your grinding habits permanently ruin the natural structure of your teeth. As soon as you start to notice any of the symptoms of bruxism, or your sleep partner comes to you complaining about your grinding while you sleep, contact our office for an appointment. He can evaluate your teeth and ask a few questions about your habits to see if the condition is serious enough for treatment. To prepare for this kind of appointment, come with information about recent life changes or causes of extreme stress, your sleeping habits and a list of any symptoms you experience that might be relevant to your bruxism. You should prepare to answer questions like:

  • Are you currently taking any medications?
  • When did you first experience these symptoms?
  • When/how frequently do they occur?
  • Are your symptoms temporary or longer lasting?
  • Does anything help improve your symptoms?
  • What makes symptoms more severe?

Bruxism Treatment Options

Dr. Morrow prefers to start with the least invasive treatment options first, especially for bruxism. However, deciding on treatment depends on the underlying cause of your symptoms, which can be difficult. This is why you must work together with Dr. Morrow and determine the best treatments, appliances or procedures to suit your circumstances. Dr. Morrow often finds night guards to be the best option. These comfortable, custom fitted appliances give your jaw a rest and protect your teeth and expensive dental restorations from unnecessary wear.  Night guards are made from hard plastic or acrylic and fit snugly on either the lower or upper jaw. Some other treatments the dentist might recommend in conjunction with this dental device include:

  • Lifestyle changes
  • Stress management
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Muscle relaxants

The best way to find out if you suffer from bruxism, is scheduling an appointment with Dr. Morrow. He can evaluate your teeth and ask a few questions about your habits to see if the condition is serious enough for treatment. To prepare for this kind of appointment come with information about recent life changes or causes of extreme stress, your sleeping habits, and a list of any symptoms you experience that might be relevant to your bruxism. You should prepare to answer questions like:

  • Are you currently taking any medications?
  • When did you first experience these symptoms?
  • When/how frequently do they occur?
  • Are your symptoms temporary or longer lasting?
  • Does anything help improve your symptoms?
  • What makes your bruxism symptoms more severe?

Choosing Dr. Ira Morrow in Yonkers for Bruxism Treatment

Contact our office in Yonkers, NY today at (914) 476-4040. Do not put off your appointment if you suspect you have bruxism. Heavy teeth grinding is not something you should ignore. Getting treatment can mean the difference between keeping and losing one or more of your teeth. Dr. Morrow will know exactly what to do to help you keep your beautiful smile in top shape and expertly answer any questions or concerns you might have.

 

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