I’ll bet you’ve never met anybody who actually likes the sensation of nails scratching on a chalk board.
Neither have I, but if you’ve been grinding your teeth in your sleep, then you might not have a choice in the matter. Night after night, that nocturnal grinding is turning your teeth into sandpaper, reducing your smile little by little. This process can wear your teeth down to the point that they begin to feel gritty and sensitive, as if that chalkboard and the nail were inside your mouth.
It’s an awful feeling, but the worst of it is the structural damage which can occur to your teeth the longer that your constant grinding – also known as “bruxism” – goes untreated. Your teeth are pretty sturdy due to their natural composition, but they’re not impervious, especially from themselves.
All of that constant grinding can cause attrition in your teeth, which is another way of saying their biting edges will become worn-down and flattened. A side-effect of this process is that the protective enamel and dentin can wear away, exposing elements of the tooth root and causing hypersensitivity to temperature. That means wincing in pain whenever you drink a hot or cold beverage.
You’re not out of the woods yet, unfortunately. Many studies have shown a link between certain forms of bruxism (particularly nocturnal bruxism, or sleep bruxism) and a serious craniofacial disturbance known as TMJ disorder.
TMJ disorder is a dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint in your jaw, which connects that bone to the rest of your skull. The massive forces generated by your teeth grinding can cause this joint to stop working as it should. In the worst case scenario, this means that this joint can become dislodged, making it extremely difficult and painful to talk and eat normally, if at all. Advanced cases of TMJ can lead to the cartilage which lines the joint to rapidly erode, which can make normal jaw movement a virtual impossibility.
And then there are the headaches, facial pain, and other symptoms which come with teeth grinding which can seriously degrade your quality of life – assuming that it hasn’t already.
What you need is a treatment solution which can protect your teeth, get you sleeping normally again, and prevent further damage like TMJ disorder from occupying your smile. And I’ve got just the ticket!
A Custom-Fit Mouthguard To Fight Bruxism
In many cases, the simplest solution for treating a case of bruxism is also the most effective. It involves getting you fitted for a custom mouthguard that’s essentially the same as the kind of mouthguard I make for athletic protection.
The mouthguard will prevent your teeth from grinding against one another, effectively eliminating the possibility that your bruxism can cause any more damage to your smile than it already has.
The mouthguard itself will be designed based upon an impression of your teeth and gums, which will ensure a nearly perfect, comfortable fit. If you suffer from sleep bruxism, you can rest a lot easier as the customized mouthguard will fit seamlessly inside of your mouth.
In other cases, a mouthguard might not be enough, or it might not take care of the root cause of your bruxism. In those cases, I will either refer you to a trusted physical therapist who can help untangle the musculature which could be causing your constant grinding, or I can perform a simple reconstructive procedure if the cause is a malfunctioning tooth filling, which can offset the natural balance of your resting bite.
Regardless of the ultimate solution, I must examine your mouth with X-rays and other analytical techniques to diagnose you with bruxism, as well as determine what the causes could be. That way, I can base a plan of treatment on those findings to make sure that the solution to your teeth grinding, whatever it might be, is the right solution for your smile.
There’s Only One Step Left…
Teeth grinding isn’t something to ignore because of the consequences it can have on your smile. Just waiting isn’t going to solve these problems, or prevent bigger ones from developing. That’s why you must make an appointment with your Lodi dentist so that you can at least obtain an examination and figure out what’s wearing on your smile.
I look forward to hearing from you!