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Bruxism Treatment in Ballwin MO
Bruxism is a term dentists use to describe the unconscious clenching together of the upper and lower teeth. Those with the condition can experience frequent jaw and neck pain, headaches, muscle tension, and muscle tissue damage. It can even wear down the tooth enamel itself. Sometimes dentists diagnose patients with multiple symptoms with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
What Causes Bruxism?
Researchers aren’t entirely what causes bruxism (teeth grinding). But many believe that it relates to stress-related health problems such as insomnia, anxiety, and chronic stress. Those with hyperactive or anxious personality types appear to be the most prone to the condition.
Some evidence also suggests that dietary factors might play a role. Those who consume alcohol, caffeine, and recreational drugs may be at higher risk than those who abstain.
Finally, some medications can induce teeth grinding as a side-effect. For instance, medical professionals know that selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors - a class of antidepressants - increases bruxism risk.
What Are The Signs Of Bruxism?
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Teeth grinding is often unconscious and can happen while a patient sleeps. For that reason, it can be challenging to identify.
The most typical indication of the condition is ground-down, chipped, or sensitive teeth. Bruxism causes the outer enamel layer to weaken and waste away with repeated grinding episodes.
You may also notice broken fillings or lacerations in the mouth. This occurs when teeth slip violently out of their regular bite pattern and puncture the gum, tongue, or cheek.
Muscular aches are another common side effect of the condition. You may notice that your neck and jaw muscles feel stiff, sore, or painful after an episode. You may also find that muscle tissue becomes inflamed, causing discomfort that extends up to your ears.
Finally, headaches can occur from increased pressure and tension from muscular activity.
If you sleep next to a partner, you may wish to ask them to listen out for noises that you make when you sleep. Sometimes they will be able to tell you if you are making grinding and clicking noises, indicative of the condition,
How To Treat Bruxism
While bruxism can have some unpleasant symptoms, dentists and other medical practitioners have developed various treatments to reduce the severity of symptoms and, in some cases, eliminate them.
There are three broad approaches to treating the condition, which patients can use in tandem.
Stress management. Because bruxism is so intimately related to other stress-related conditions, stress management may improve symptoms in some patients. Relaxation techniques, such as Pilates, meditation, yoga, spiritual practices, and exercise, can help. For treatment to work, patients need to make a conscious effort to reduce stress in their lives.
Medications. Some practitioners have found that muscle relaxants, such as Botulism toxin (famous for its cosmetic applications), can help. Injections reduce the force the jaw muscles can exert, reducing strain, tension, and damage on the teeth.
Dental guards and appliances. Dentists will often prescribe dental appliances to patients with bruxism. These devices prevent clenching while also protecting the surface of the teeth from additional damage. Patients slip them into their mouths at night and can then essentially forget about damaging their teeth further. Dr. Postol can custom-make these appliances on your behalf, protecting the teeth in both the upper and lower jaw while also avoiding damage to delicate jaw joints.
In some cases, treating bruxism effectively requires correcting an abnormal bite with orthodontic treatments. Dr. Kevin F. Postol
may have to reduce so-called “high spots” in your bite - protruding contact points between the upper and lower jaw. If you currently have orthodontic prosthetics in your mouth, such as a brace, you can still wear night guards.
Types Of Bruxism Mouthguards
There are three types of mouthguards available for people with bruxism, each offering costs, and benefits.
Stock nightguards are generic options you can buy over-the-counter from pharmacies or general stores. They’re a one-size-fits-all solution designed to fit the average bite, meaning that they might not stay in place as you sleep. They’re fine so long as the fit is okay, but otherwise, they can be somewhat lackluster.
Boil-And-Bite Night Guards
Boil-and-bite night guards are the next step up and generally fit better than stock versions. Vendors supply you with a thermoplastic material you heat in hot water to make it more pliable. When ready, you place it in your mouth and shape with finger and tongue pressure. However, fitting issues still crop up regularly, making this option less-than-ideal for the majority of patients.
Custom Mouth Protectors
Custom mouth protectors are the current state-of-the-art option for patients with bruxism. Dentists individually design these appliances using molds of a patient’s teeth and construct them in a laboratory. Unlike boil-and-bite, the fit is precisely calibrated and doesn’t depend on the patient's skills to get the thermoplastic shape correct.
Getting one of these mouth protectors is a simple process. Dentists take an impression of your teeth and then lay a special material over it. The procedure takes extra time, energy, and resources than the other two options, making it more expensive. But the result is a guard that fits your mouth perfectly and provides long-lasting and comfortable protection.
Do You Need A Mouthguard?
If you grind your teeth at night, you may require a mouthguard, bite plate, or bite splint to prevent them from being damaged. We recommend against using mass-produced varieties. Custom-made versions fit better and help to reduce the pressure on the tissue in your jaw.
Schedule A Consultation Today
If you believe you may have bruxism, please consider scheduling a consultation with Dr. Postol today. We have many decades of clinical experience and offer an exceptional level of care. With us, you can find the perfect solution for your teeth grinding and deal with painful symptoms associated with the condition. We offer a friendly and professional service in a welcoming environment. Getting effective treatment is easy, so contact us
soon and get it treated.
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