Sleep well and wake up refreshed
Are you bothered by a sore jaw, headaches, or neck and shoulder pain when you wake up? If so, you may suffer from a condition known as bruxism, or teeth grinding.
Pure Dental Arts in Queen Anne (Seattle) & Everett, WA, can help. In most cases, Dr. Goel can provide effective relief from the annoying symptoms of bruxism by creating a custom-made night guard. A night guard is effective because it is designed to accommodate your unique dental bite, preventing your upper and lower teeth from coming into contact. Since teeth-grinding most often occurs during sleep, the night guard can prevent unconscious clenching, eliminating constant pressure placed on teeth.
Why is teeth grinding bad?
Bruxism, or teeth-grinding, can create excessive force that may damage and fracture teeth. It also affects the muscles that support healthy jaw function. Constant clenching and grinding of the teeth not only causes painful symptoms but may also contribute to disorders of your TMJ, the Temporal Mandibular Joint, in a condition known as TMD. Worst of all, it all happens in your sleep, when you don’t know you’re doing it and can’t simply stop clenching.
Signs and symptoms of bruxism, and how to treat it
Dr. Chiang and Dr. Goel will perform a thorough dental exam to evaluate conditions that may lead to your teeth grinding. The following are symptoms of bruxism:
- Sensitive teeth
- Aching jaw muscles
- Tooth wear/Tooth fractures
- Excessive wear of dental restorations
- Tenderness in your jaw muscles
- Broken or worn teeth
- Waking up in the morning with headaches or neck pain
The treatment for bruxism usually involves identifying when it occurs. For nighttime bruxism, we advise that you wear a custom-made occlusal splint, also known as a “night guard.” Night guards are made of a hard or soft acrylic material. The guard will fit over your top or bottom teeth. In some extreme cases, patients may need to wear their nightguard during the day due to daytime bruxism. In such a case we would fabricate a thinner, lighter-duty nightguard for you to wear during the day, one that doesn’t affect your ability to speak or eat.
Bruxism has been associated with having a stressful a lifestyle. Practicing proper stress-reduction or anxiety-management is important. You may try things like meditation, reading self-help books, or consulting a licensed psychotherapist.
Can medications help with bruxism?
To date, it has not been scientifically proven that medications can successfully treat bruxism. More research needs to be done. However, the following medications appear at least somewhat beneficial:
- Muscle Relaxants. In cases where you are having acute jaw muscle pain, a muscle relaxant can give you immediate short-term relief.
- Botox. Botox may help some people reduce their level of bruxism, by freezing the muscles involved.
- Medication for anxiety/stress. These can help, as bruxism is often associated with a stressful lifestyle.
Depending on the results of this evaluation, we may find that a night guard is all you need to eliminate uncomfortable symptoms. If stress seems the likely cause, simple stress-management approaches like meditation and calming activities like walking or reading a book can have a positive effect and reduce or eliminate your symptoms.
Contact Pure Dental Arts in Seattle to discuss your teeth-grinding and treatment options.
You don’t have to spend another day allowing the symptoms of teeth grinding to affect your life. Our convenient extended hours and financing plans make it easy to get the help you need.
We provide personalized care and will take every step necessary to find the solution that protects your oral health and eliminates unnecessary discomfort. Contact Pure Dental Arts in Queen Anne, Seattle, so you can finally get the help you need.