From the desk of David Bloom DMD…
About Teeth Grinding. Most of our patients grind—it’s a difficult habit to break, especially as most do this during sleep. Teeth grinding can be very destructive to your dental health—with all the pressure you exert, a lot can go south. This habit can lead to fractures, gum and bone loss, and TMJ issues, as teeth, bone, gum tissue and muscles are traumatized. Many of these issues will reverse once you protect your system with a custom bite splint. A properly made bite splint absorbs the forces, so your teeth and bone are protected. Ours are custom-made in our in-house lab. Made for your lower arch, your bite splint seats snugly, keeping your bite stable. Once you have one, you’ll wonder how you slept with it. There are other bennies such as sleeping better, waking rested, and it keeps your bite stable you won’t wake up with a headache.
About Botox. I am alarmed that the general media touts Botox as the new treatment for teeth grinding. While it stops you from grinding, shutting down the muscles for biting and chewing messes with the harmony of your bite and can lead to even more issues. Although stress might cause you to grind, it’s a central nervous system function, and while you can’t control it, you can protect yourself from the damage.
This graphic shows how a bite splint keeps your muscles calm (calm muscles are shown as blue), even when you grind your teeth.
Do you need a Custom Bite Splint? Yes, if you answer yes to more or more questions below.
- Do you grind during sleep?
- Do you have headaches (chronic, cluster or migraine)?
- Do you wake-up with sore facial muscles?
- Do you have discomfort in your TMJ or feel that something is out of whack or notice a clicking or popping sound when you open your mouth or move from side to side?
- Have you cracked teeth?
- Do you have tooth sensitivity esp. on a tooth that has already had root canal treatment, and advised that it should be extracted. If yes, please seek a second opinion. Your tooth may be fine and the pain is coming from surrounding ligaments. Grinding and the excessive pressure can make a tooth so sensitive, that it appears to be abscessed. We’ve seen too many new patients with this issue, who come to us after they’ve had unnecessary, invasive treatment. When we correct their bite, their pain is gone without further intervention.
- Have you teeth changed position, do you see gaps?