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Protecting your Teeth Against Bruxism

Poway and Rancho Bernardo, CA

Do you grind your teeth? If so, they may be at serious risk of damage, decay, or worse. Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, can devastate your teeth and mouth. According to the American Sleep Association, bruxism affects 10 percent of American adults and as many as 15 percent of children in the United States. Thankfully, dental practices like Smiles by Dr. Cook can help protect patients from the potential oral health consequences from bruxism.

What is bruxism?

To begin, let’s take a deeper look at bruxism itself, and why it can be so devastating. When you grind your teeth, the constant friction begins to wear away the dental enamel because an inordinate amount of force is placed upon your teeth. Patients with severe bruxism may exert hundreds of pounds of additional pressure on their teeth that leads to permanent damage.

Perils of Bruxism

When dental enamel wears away, the consequences can include tooth decay, increased sensitivity, cracked teeth, or damage to dental restorations such as fillings and crowns. Bruxism also can cause significant pain that manifests as headaches or affects the teeth, jaws, and neck. Over time, an untreated case of bruxism can cause total destruction in your mouth, wearing down your teeth to nubs.

Identifying the problem

Many people with bruxism never realize they are grinding their teeth, because typically, this behavior occurs while asleep. A spouse or partner that sleeps with you may observe if this habit is taking place as it sometimes emits noise as teeth grind together. However, regular checkups to your Poway dentist allow Dr. Cook the opportunity to assess your oral health, and determine a potential case of bruxism.

Why bruxism occurs

There is no single reason why teeth grinding occurs, although stress is a key role. Reducing the amount of stress in your life can help you attempt to curb this behavior. Research has been done determining several possible links, including drug addiction, smoking, drinking alcohol, sleep arousal patterns, and heredity. However, the cause of bruxism may vary depending on the patient, their lifestyle choices, and overall health.

Bruxism – the solution

When the teeth, facial muscles, and temporomandibular TMJ joint (jaw) are out of alignment, then bruxism often happens. Neuromuscular dentistry is an approach to resolving this dysfunction and its symptoms by correcting the misalignment, which is an effective cure for bruxism. Dr. Cook can help protect your teeth from the damage that can be inflicted by teeth grinding by prescribing a mouth guard. These mouth guards are made of high-quality materials and designed from specific impressions of your mouth, which help guarantee a snug, secure, comfortable fit with maximum protection for your teeth from the potential damage of bruxism. When worn, especially during sleep, this mouth guard will not stop you from grinding your teeth, but it will safeguard them against the potential damage as it absorbs the pressure when teeth clenching and grinding occurs.

If your mouth already has sustained damage from bruxism, then your local Poway cosmetic dentist Dr. Nicol Cook can help. Smiles by Dr. Cook offers a variety of different cosmetic treatments to repair teeth that have been affected by bruxism. We also can combine multiple cosmetic treatments to restore your smile, in a treatment plan known as a smile makeover.

Night Guards in Poway

Be aware of the symptoms of bruxism. These include jaw pain, head muscle tenderness, frequently waking up with headaches, swollen jaws, or tongue indentation. You also should seek an evaluation as soon as possible if your teeth seem to be wearing down or getting smaller on their own.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of bruxism or your partner has noticed that you grind your teeth while you sleep, you should be evaluated as soon as possible. To schedule an appointment, please call (858) 673-0141 or contact Smiles by Dr. Cook today. We welcome patients of Carmel Mountain, Poway, and Rancho Bernardo, California.

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