About one in four Americans have a destructive oral habit, and they may not even know it. It’s what dentist’s call bruxism, or teeth grinding. Caused by stress, misaligned bite and even some prescriptions, teeth grinding can be treated by Dr. John Grinaldi, dentist in North Dallas.
The Appearance of Bruxism
Teeth grinding irritates both the patient and the persons sleeping close by–spouse, children, or college roommates. However, besides the annoying nightly noise, bruxism exhibits several other signs and symptoms, including:
- Worn, fractured, or chipped teeth
- Damaged crowns, fillings, bridges and other restorations
- Damaged aesthetic improvements, such as porcelain veneers and bonding
- Thinned tooth enamel
- Tooth mobility
- Jaw, face and neck pain
- Headaches, including migraines, especially upon waking
- TMJ (temporomandibular joint) Dysfunction
- Sore oral tissues from unconscious chewing
- Destruction of bone and gums
- Sore shoulder muscles
- Dental sensitivity and abscess
When neglected, bruxism frequently leads to depression, attention and memory problems, and difficulties with interpersonal relationships. Bruxism occurs more often to women than to men, but it happens to children and adolescents, too. As younger jaws grow, teeth grinding can self-correct by age 13.
The National Sleep Foundation calls bruxism both a sleep disorder and a serious oral health problem. However, teeth grinding can be treated successfully by Dr. John Grinaldi and his team. He routinely examines all his patients for signs of bruxism and may prescribe custom-made night guards and other interventions to relieve symptoms and reduce damage.
Evaluation for Bruxism
Dr. Grinaldi discusses the patient’s symptoms, medical history and current medications. He performs a complete exam, checking the patient’s bite in particular. Digital X-rays and other kinds of imaging show bone structure and tooth roots. If he diagnoses bruxism, the dentist advises one or a combination of treatments depending on how complex the condition is. The interventions may include:
- Relaxation techniques for the jaw muscles
- Ice and heat applied to the jaw
- Resurfacing teeth and restorations, such as crowns, to re-align bite
- Braces to correct bite problems
- Muscle relaxants
- Ibuprofen for inflammation and pain
- Reduction of stimulants such as caffeine and smoking
- Oral surgery for complex cases
Custom-made night guards decrease teeth grinding, too. Made from smooth, comfortable acrylic, the night guards fit over the top and bottom arches to prevent teeth from moving and grinding together. Patients wear them at night and even during daytime naps when symptoms of bruxism usually worsen. Dentists combine oral appliance therapy with other treatments to optimize results.
Contact the North Dallas Office
Are you a bruxer? Please don’t neglect teeth grinding. Solve it instead. Contact John Grinaldi DDS for a personal consultation today. He’s been voted a Super Dentist by Texas Monthly Magazine each year from 2004 to 2015; so you know you are in expert hands.