Bruxism or teeth grinding is something that seems harmless at first but really isn’t. If you only do it every once in a while in your sleep, your teeth are probably safe. But if you’re doing it often enough to crack the plastic of your retainer, you’re probably in need of a night guard. If you let bruxism run wild, you can suffer from chipped teeth and cracked teeth that’ll leave your oral health at a distinct disadvantage. So spend the time and money now on a cure for bruxism rather than a dental implant to replace a tooth that your jaws of steel cracked in the middle of the night because you were stressed about a presentation at work. In our last blog, we taught you how to self-diagnose the issue. In this blog, we’ll explore how your Missoula dentist will go about diagnosing the issue and pursuing a solution to the problem.
Before your dentist can determine if you have a problem, they’ll probably have a series of questions to ask you before they start deciding what kind of night guard will be best for you. They’ll conduct an examination of your general oral health and ask you questions about your sources of stress and the medicine you’re taking. If you’re currently sharing a bedroom, your dentist may want to ask your partner about your teeth grinding habits also. After this, the dentist will examine your mouth, specifically looking at the muscles of your jaw as well as looking at your teeth for signs of grinding. Generally, they’ll try and test for tenderness in your jaw muscles and loose teeth as well as poor tooth alignment, which are all definitive signs of serious bruxism.
Bruxism in Children
The exception to bruxism panic that sometimes accompanies the potential side effects of this disorder are children. Most children grind their teeth on the regular with no long-term side effects. It’s actually particularly common in children under the age of 5. The thing to remember, though, is that most children totally grow out of bruxism. Dentists often relate the issue to children using it as a pain reliever for their sensitive teeth and gums as their teeth come in. Usually, it picks up when they’re around age 3 and can last until about age 13. Chronic bruxers sometimes suffer the condition until their point of stress stops, while others merely replace old stresses with new stresses and grind their teeth at night continually.
If the bruxism is dentally related because of your bite or something along those lines, your dentist might give you a night guard to break the habit. Otherwise, if it’s really severe they might put crowns or reshape the biting surface to make it uncomfortable to grind your teeth. Most cases merely end in a night guard to protect your teeth from further damaging each other, as that is often the easiest solution to the problem.
If bruxism is giving you traumatic headaches and other issues throughout your day on a regular basis, give us a call. Bitterroot has many different tools at our disposal to solve your bruxism problems with night guards and other pain-free methods that will reduce your headaches and stop you from harming the integrity of the structure of your teeth and jaw muscles. Reach out to us to schedule your consultation today.