If you habitually grind your teeth, it can have serious consequences for your dental and oral health. You may grind with a force of up to 1,000 pounds per square inch, which can severely wear down your teeth and destroy restorative work such as fillings and crowns. At Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry, we offer custom-made dental mouth guards to help treat your bruxism, alleviate your discomfort, and protect your beautiful smile.
What Is Bruxism?
You may grind your teeth and clinch your jaw for a number of reasons. The causes of bruxism include:
- Bite misalignment
- Missing teeth
- Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea
- A side effect of certain medications
If you suffer from this condition, you most likely grind your teeth at night, so you may wake up with headaches, jaw pain, and radiating soreness in your neck and upper back. If left untreated, bruxism will not only damage your teeth, it can lead to other health conditions such as TMJ. Constantly putting pressure on your jaw inflames the surrounding muscles and damages the soft cushioning disc inside your joint.
What Can Mouth Guards Do?
Dr. Vlachakis can treat your bruxism with two types of oral appliances:
- Mouth guards: These soft plastic devices are custom-made to fit over your teeth, preventing structural damage. Although you can purchase premade mouth guards at your local pharmacy, these often do not fit properly or provide sufficient protection for your teeth.
- Splints: These smaller devices are also custom-made and fit over your front teeth. Offering more comprehensive treatment, they actually realign your jaw to prevent grinding entirely. Splints are often used as a treatment for TMJ Disorder, so if you suffer from both conditions, this may be the right appliance for you.
The dentist will work carefully to determine which treatment will best alleviate your symptoms and enhance your dental health.
Caring for Your Mouth Guard
Because you will typically wear your mouth guard at night, you should clean it thoroughly every morning. Brush it with a soft-bristled tooth brush and store it in water or an anti-bacterial solution. Proper care and maintenance will keep bacteria from accumulating on the appliance, preventing bad breath and dental decay.
Other Bruxism Treatments
Although mouth guards and oral splints are the most common and conservative treatment for bruxism, there are other remedies available. They include:
- Stress relief: If your bruxism is caused by anxiety, learning stress management tips and talking to a mental health professional can greatly enhance your quality of life.
- Orthodontic work: Realigning your bite can alleviate your bruxism and promote your comprehensive dental health. Although Dr. Vlachakis does not place braces herself, she can refer you to an outstanding local orthodontist.
- Restorative dentistry: If you have missing or severely damaged teeth, you may be grinding in an attempt to bring your teeth into their proper alignment. Restoring and replacing your teeth with implants or crowns can lessen the symptoms of bruxism and enhance the appearance of your smile.
- TruDenta®: This method of TMJ treatment combines a comprehensive diagnostic test with advanced therapies to retrain your muscles and nerves. Dr. Vlachakis is one of only 300 dentists in the country offering this revolutionary, FDA-approved treatment.
Ask Dr. Vlachakis About Bruxism Treatment
If you habitually grind your teeth, then ask Dr. Vlachakis about protecting your smile with custom bruxism treatmet. To schedule an appointment, call Healthy Smiles Family Dentistry today at (281) 974-4494. Located in Memorial City Plaza, we proudly serve the residents of Houston, Memorial City, Bunker Hill, West Beltway, City Center, Hedwig Village, and all surrounding communities.