Grinding Your Teeth More These Days?

  • Dec 5 2020

Would a mouth guard help prevent me from grinding my teeth during the night?

Have you found that you’ve started grinding your teeth in your sleep or doing it more than you have in the past? It appears that you are not alone. Dentists have been seeing an increase in patients displaying damaged crowns and fillings, as well as broken or cracked teeth that are the result of bruxism, which is the term used for teeth grinding. While there have yet to be studies to verify this, it is believed to be the result of stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Cracked teeth and other dental issues aren’t the only symptoms that are being blamed on the elevated levels of stress hormones associated with the pandemic. When cortisol, known as the stress hormone, remains at exaggerated levels it increases inflammation throughout the body, leading to all sorts of issues, from asthma and diabetes to heart disease. We have yet to see the numbers connecting spikes in these conditions to the pandemic, but it is definitely being recognized by dentists. 

Symptoms of Bruxism

You may not be aware that you are grinding your teeth. While this does happen while awake, it is far more likely to occur during sleep. Becoming aware of the fact that you are grinding your teeth before significant damage has been done is important. Some of the signs and symptoms to look for include:

  • Tired or sore jaw muscles
  • Tooth pain that increases without apparent cause
  • New sensitivity to temperature or pressure
  • Teeth that have become loose
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Wearing away of tooth enamel
  • Pain in the area of the ear but not related to the ear
  • Jaw that is locked or difficult to open or close
  • Soreness in the face, neck, or jaw
  • Dull aching that seems to start in the temple area
  • Cuts or sores on the inside of the cheek
  • Waking multiple times during the night without apparent reason
  • Someone nearby reporting hearing the sound of your teeth grinding together 

Mouth Guards to Prevent Damage Due to Grinding Teeth

There are other possible causes of bruxism, like reactions to certain medications, alcohol and drug use, as well as hereditary disposition, but stress is the usual suspect. Correcting the underlying issue is always the best course but often difficult to do. One of the best ways to prevent damage to the teeth while working on the cause is to use a mouth guard while sleeping.  

Mouth guards are typically constructed of plastic or a type of laminate. There are three basic types. The pre-made or stock varieties have the advantage of being inexpensive, but they rarely fit well enough to be effective and may cause bite and breathing problems. The boil-and-bite mouth guards are designed to be heated in hot water and then molded around the individual’s teeth, providing a better fit than pre-made. 

Not surprisingly, most dental professionals recommend the third type, custom-fitted mouth guards. The Night Guard mouth protector was created by a specialist in dentistry with state-of-the-art technology specifically designed to protect teeth from the damage caused by teeth grinding. 

If you have questions about any of our services, whether dentistry or aesthetics, Forest Hills Dentistry is dedicated to delivering the highest quality services possible. We offer the latest and most current information and services to our patients with a new state-of-the-art facility in Forest Hills, Queens. Patient comfort, individualized care, and complete satisfaction are our priority. 

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Categories: Mouth Guards