Megan Arjmandi DDS

Smile Essentials Dentist in Vista California

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Grinding teeth

Grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism, can cause a variety of oral health issues if left unchecked. Let me give you a thorough overview of what recommendations your dentist might have for managing bruxism.

First, your dentist will want to evaluate and diagnose the extent of your grinding habit through an oral exam. They may check for signs like abnormal tooth wear, jaw muscle tenderness, or cracked teeth to determine the severity. Getting a sense of your stress levels and any other known contributing factors can also help identify triggers.

Once properly diagnosed, your dentist may recommend trying a custom-fit night guard as a first-step treatment. This clear mouth appliance is worn while sleeping cushions your teeth from the force of grinding. It helps prevent excessive wear that can lead to fractures, chips, sensitivity, and the need for crowns or other restorations. Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth to fabricate a unique night guard just for you.

For some patients, injecting botulinum toxin in the chewing muscles has been effective at reducing grinding and clenching at night. The effects of the toxin relax the strained muscles and limit damage to the teeth. However, the injections require repeating every few months as the effects wear off. This approach also has more potential side effects than a night guard.

Improving stress management through counseling, meditation, physical therapy or other means can be beneficial. Since bruxism often flares during periods of high anxiety and tension, developing healthy coping strategies for stress can have a big impact. Your dentist may advise learning relaxation techniques and avoiding stimulants like caffeine close to bedtime.

You should also closely follow your dentist’s at-home oral health instructions, as bruxism increases the risk of cavities and gum recession. Meticulous brushing, flossing, and using recommended products like prescription-strength fluoride toothpaste can strengthen enamel against grinding damage. Your dentist will want to see you more frequently for cleanings and checkups to monitor your teeth under the strain of bruxism.

With a combination of the night guard, medication, stress relief, oral hygiene, and close monitoring, your dentist can work with you to control the effects of grinding. The key is being vigilant with at-home care and maintaining regular dental visits even after symptoms improve, as bruxism can recur. Please let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions on managing this common condition!