New York Dentists Share Effective Ways To Reduce The Frequency Of Teeth Grinding
Bruxism is the medical name for involuntary clenching or grinding of teeth. Most often, this happens at night while a person is sleeping. Bruxism is most likely to happen to children, teens, and young adults, but affects people of all ages.
When someone is grinding their teeth at night, they usually don’t realize they are doing it, but can be applying up to 250 pounds of force in their jaw! Eventually, this intense force will begin to wear down their teeth, causing sensitivity and pain. Patients also commonly experience jaw and neck pain, headaches, and long-term problems with their temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
There is no cure that will completely stop bruxism, but treatment with your Washington Heights dental clinic can reduce the frequency of teeth grinding, ease its severity, and relieve symptoms.
When Should You See a Doctor About Sleep Bruxism?
If you’re experiencing pain in your mouth, jaw, or neck, and suspect you may be unintentionally grinding your teeth during sleep, talk with a doctor or dentist. Treatment and home management methods can be recommended that will help reduce teeth grinding before the condition becomes worse.
What Treatments Are Available For Teeth Grinding?
Treatment for bruxism is multi-faceted. Your Washington Heights dentist may recommend an oral device to wear at night that will prevent your top and bottom teeth from touching each other. As needed, you may also be given treatments to manage pain and encouraged to get some physical therapy to help with TMJ issues, plus other specific treatments for other symptoms you are experiencing.
Home Care Tips To Relieve Clenching Teeth Symptoms
Here are some tips for home treatment that may help relieve symptoms, reduce irritation, and reduce the severity of teeth grinding.
- Avoid straining your jaw and teeth on hard foods like nuts, popcorn, and hard candies
- Be cautious with caramels, peanut butter, and other sticky foods that are difficult to chew
- Don’t chew gum because it adds strain to your TMJ and other muscles
- Consider trying a new pillow that will relieve strain on your neck or head
- Use a hot compress or an ice pack to soothe pain
- Physical therapy – ask your doctor or Washington Heights dentist office for a referral to a physical therapist. Learning some specific exercises to relax and stretch the muscles involved with teeth grinding can relieve a lot of strain. Working hands on with a professional will enable you to do the exercises properly and get a specialized treatment plan.
- Massage – many patients benefit from massages to their head, neck, and upper body that release tension and pain points.
Bruxism Medical & Dental Treatments
Not everyone who suffers from bruxism will need treatment, but if you are having frequent symptoms of waking up with headaches and jaw pain, your sleep is unrefreshing, or you are experiencing tooth damage, there are a number of treatment options to consider.
Mouthguards are a dental implant worn at night to prevent grinding. They work by holding the jaw in a particular position or by making a barrier that will minimize tooth damage. Mouthguards may also position the jaw in a slightly open position that allows the chewing muscles to relax at night. There are different styles, so ask your Washington Heights dental office which style may be best for you. Many mouthguards are available over the counter and are adjustable to fit in your mouth, but custom mouthguards molded at your dentist office are also popular. Mouthguards don’t cure bruxism, but can reduce the impact on your teeth, improve your sleep quality, and help prevent morning headaches.
Reduce Stress To Help You Get Better Sleep
Stress can contribute to teeth grinding, so many people find relief by reducing their overall stress and finding relaxation techniques. Many people with bruxism struggle to sleep well, and may find that stress reduction methods also benefit by helping them to get a better night’s sleep.
Measures To Take Into Account For Bruxism Medication
In severe cases that don’t respond well to other types of treatment, medications may be an option. However, they all have side effects and may not be effective. Botox injections are the most widely used medication for bruxism and may help by decreasing activity in the facial and jaw muscles. Be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of any medication with your doctor before you start treatment.
Visit a Professional Dental Care Office In Washington Heights
Esthetix Dental Spa offers a wide range of cosmetic and cleaning services to help you achieve a beautiful, healthy smile! Receive comfortable, effective, and compassionate care by a team of top rated dentists at our convenient location in Washington Heights. To schedule your appointment and get started toward a better smile, contact our office today.