EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE, SOME OF US CLENCH OUR TEETH A LITTLE when get “stressed out” or are intently focused on some activity. Luckily, this occasional and minor clenching isn’t usually a big problem.
However, chronic grinding and clenching is much more serious as it can lead to fractured teeth, severe jaw problems and even permanent tooth loss!
Thankfully, experienced dentists like Drs. Jared and Daniel Theurer are able to change people’s lives through specialized treatment of conditions like these.
First, a couple of simple definitions:
Bruxism is a medical condition where people clench, grind, and/or gnash their teeth. Most people with this condition unconsciously clench their teeth together throughout the day, and they may also grind their teeth at night. which is called “sleep bruxism”. Mild bruxism may not even require any treatment, but if it’s frequent it can lead to headaches, jaw disorders, and damaged teeth. Some people aren’t even aware that they grind at night, which is why keeping your regular checkups with Dr. Jared or Daniel Theurer is even so important; they can see the signs and symptoms of bruxism BEFORE they become major problems.
Abfraction comes from “flexural” force, and is the loss of tooth structure. The extreme pressure caused by bruxism can cause teeth to flex over time, leading to tooth abfractures right along the gum line along the middle back teeth (bicuspid region). As the condition gets worse, these abfractures will spread back to the molars and forward to the front teeth—especially for those of you who clench in a “foward to back motion”.
Not only can this condition be extremely painful if untreated, it can also cause severe migraines, headaches, and damaging affects on your TMJ joint.
Our Doctors Can Help
Fortunately for our patients here at The Sugar House Dentist, our Doctors thoroughly understand and consider the relationships between your teeth, as well as the muscles and nerves in and around your jaw. This understanding allows them to make the very best recommendations for solving problems with bruxism. There are many different options Dr. Theurer will consider to help you, including treatments designed to cover painful exposed roots and designing a custom fitting nightguard to wear while you’re sleeping.
A Few Simple Things You Can Do To Help With Bruxism
- Avoid alcohol. Grinding often intensifies after alcohol consumption.
- Avoid or cut back on caffeine.
- Relax your jaw muscles before bed at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe.
- Train yourself not to clench your teeth if you notice yourself doing it during the day.
- Don’t chew on non-food items like the end of your pencil or pen.
- Reduce stress through exercise and/or counseling.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, talk with Dr. Jared or Daniel Theurer—they love visiting with their patients. Reach us here at The Sugar House Dentist by phone at 385-299-7840, filling out our contact page, or following us on FACEBOOK.