For most adults, making sure their smiles are protected from decay and infection is one of the biggest reasons for attending their routine examination and cleaning. Indeed, most individuals consider these harms the biggest threat that could bar them from maintaining a healthy smile for life. For others, however, the biggest threat is not oral bacteria, but a condition that causes jaw dysfunction. In today’s blog, your North Hollywood, CA dentist will address how bruxism causes structural damage and misalignment and how you can combat it with a custom appliance.
The Effects of Bruxism
Chronic teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, occurs when an individual clenches and rubs their oral structures from side-to-side, often occurring when they are asleep. For those that experience this circumstance seldomly, waking up with an aching or tense jaw can easily be overlooked as attributed to something such as sleeping in an incorrect position or talking in their sleep. Be cautious, however, as this condition can lead to a number of concerns. For example, rubbing the surfaces of teeth together for extended durations of time may result in wearing down the natural structure and weakening its strength. This not only causes sensitivity, but increases your chance of developing an infection.
Additionally, bruxism will cause your jaw to feel tight or tense and result in pain, difficulty speaking, eating, and even opening the mouth in general. If you suspect you are grinding your teeth at night or have experienced any of these symptoms, make sure to reach out to our office as soon as possible.
Potential for Jaw Misalignment
While a sore or aching jaw is a nuisance, the biggest concern associated with bruxism includes developing a bite dysfunction known as TMJ disorder. Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ’s) are the two points at which your lower jaw hinges and connects itself to the rest of the cranium. When you grind your teeth, your lower mandible can actually pop out of place and cause misalignment in your bite. As your jaw attempts to correct this, you may experience a popping or clicking notion, as well as pain. If left untreated, it can cause significant damage to your joints and surrounding tissues, which is why it is better to act sooner rather than later when searching for a solution.
A Custom Approach
Though TMJ disorder and bruxism are a major concern, know that if you act efficiently, there are treatment options to assist. With splint therapy, your dentist can help guide your jaw back into the joints naturally, prioritizing your comfort. What’s more, we can also work with you to create a custom mouthguard that you can wear while you sleep in order to prevent damage to your oral structures. For more information, contact our team today.
Schedule Your Appointment
To learn more about your mouth rehabilitation options or to schedule your initial appointment, contact Modern Smiles in North Hollywood, CA by calling 818-763-9353 today.