Safety First

Slave to the Grind

Bruxism and What You Can Do About It

Every news outlet from coast to coast constantly reminds us of all the negative in the world and our lives. This repetitious reminder in addition to our own personal struggles makes for a very stressful existence at times.

Stressors comes in many forms. Money, homes, employment, food, relationships, healthcare; we are all dealing with one issue or another that negatively affect our demeanor. Dealing with these issues can ultimately manifest itself physically and compromise our health.

Depression, over eating, under eating, excessive drinking, smoking, drugs and grinding are just some of the ways we respond to our environments stressors. All of these “expressions” have a negative effect on our bodies but grinding otherwise known as bruxism, affects a vast majority of people and seems to be on the rise.

Bruxism or teeth grinding and clinching is a destructive disorder that can result from but is not limited to anger, tension, anxiety and frustration. All feelings commonly felt during hard times. Getting help from your dentist can alleviate symptoms and prevent unnecessary trauma to your joints, teeth, and muscles.

If you’re not sure if you grind or clinch, symptoms indicative of bruxism are listed below:
  • Jaw disorders such as tightness, limited opening, soreness, TMJ issues
  • Teeth worn flat
  • Grinding noises that wake you or your partner from sleep
  • Exposure of inner layers of tooth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Gingival recession
  • Headaches
  • Fractured teeth
  • Chronic facial pain
  • Tooth mobility
  • Earache
  • Tooth abrasion
  • Chipping teeth

Currently, the most common modality for prevention and preservation with this disorder is with a splint or tooth guard. Your dentist can fabricate a custom full arch guard or a smaller guard that snaps onto your two front teeth. This puts your jaw in a relaxed position and prevents the teeth from touching. The use of Botulism A to paralyze the masticating muscles is also being used as a solution but should be administered by a M.D. or other authorized medical professional.

There are generic boil and mold guards that can be purchased at a drug or sports store for in expensive alternative but most people find them uncomfortable and stop using them over time. A custom made mouth guard will run you anywhere from $300 – $600. Although this sounds expensive, it will save your teeth and money in the long run. It’s worth the investment.

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