A Guide To Identifying And Treating Teeth Grinding

A Guide To Identifying And Treating Teeth Grinding

The Internet has opened the field so that everyone can obtain just about anything they want. If you want something, there is every likelihood it is being produced somewhere and you can order, and have it delivered to your home address without ever having to consult a dental expert. Every day dentists see patients that have taken matters into their own hands, such as trying over the counter teeth whitening kits, only to find that they are either more complicated than they expected, the results are minimal, or they have caused more damage to their teeth that need a professional’s help. Here is a short list of the kinds of teeth whitening treatments you can expect to find.

Identifying the Cause

If your dentist suspects that you have teeth grinding, he or she will ask you some questions to try to find out the cause. These questions are usually regarding general dental health, medications, sleep habits and daily routines. Your dentist may check for:

  • Tenderness in your jaw muscles
  • Other damage to your teeth, the underlying bone and the inside of your cheeks
  • Obvious dental abnormalities, such as missing or broken teeth

These are the good old favorites that have been around for quite some time. They work by way of an abrasive on the surface enamel of the tooth. This means they whiten the teeth by erasing stubborn stains. Most whitening toothpastes are required to have an RDA measurement (Relative or Radioactive Dentin Abrasivity). The higher the RDA number, the more abrasive the toothpaste is, and potentially the more damaging it can be. Teeth whitening products bought from the Internet can be manufactured anywhere in the world and may not have an RDA number or it may be higher than what’s considered safe by the American dental Association. They may be expensive in terms of toothpaste and the job they do will be minimal in terms of teeth whitening.

Referrals

If your bruxism seems to be related to major sleep issues, your doctor may recommend a sleep medicine specialist. A sleep medicine specialist can conduct more tests, such as a sleep study that will assess for episodes of teeth grinding and determine if you have sleep apnea or other sleep disorders.

If anxiety or other psychological issues seem related to your teeth grinding, you may be referred to a licensed therapist or counselor.

Treatment

In many cases, treatment isn’t necessary. Many kids outgrow bruxism without treatment, and many adults don’t grind or clench their teeth badly enough to require therapy. However, if the problem is severe, options include certain dental approaches, therapies and medications to prevent more tooth damage and relieve jaw pain or discomfort.

Talk with your dentist or doctor to find out which option may work best for you.

Approaches

This appears to be very popular but there is no basis whatsoever that it can whiten teeth. However, there is also no danger to your tooth either, so if you want to waste your money on a worthless process – go ahead. If you or your child has bruxism, your doctor may suggest ways to preserve or improve your teeth. Although these methods may prevent or correct the wear to your teeth, they may not stop the bruxism:

  • Splints and mouth guards. These are designed to keep teeth separated to avoid the damage caused by clenching and grinding. They can be constructed of hard acrylic or soft materials and fit over your upper or lower teeth.
  • Dental correction. In severe cases — when tooth wear has led to sensitivity or the inability to chew properly — your dentist may need to reshape the chewing surfaces of your teeth or use crowns to repair the damage.
  • Stress or anxiety management. If you grind your teeth because of stress, you may be able to prevent the problem by learning strategies that promote relaxation, such as meditation. If the bruxism is related to anxiety, advice from a licensed therapist or counselor may help.
  • Behavior change. Once you discover that you have bruxism, you may be able to change the behavior by practicing proper mouth and jaw position. Ask your dentist to show you the best position for your mouth and jaw.
  • Biofeedback. If you’re having a hard time changing your habits, you may benefit from biofeedback, a method that uses monitoring procedures and equipment to teach you to control muscle activity in your jaw.

Pay Attention To Your Oral Hygiene

There are many other over the counter treatments emerging every day. Some are completely harmless and do nothing to help whiten your teeth, others are potentially harmful and will cost you a lot of money to correct. By carrying out good dental hygiene practices and visiting your dentist regularly, you will care for your teeth very well. You can always discuss any potential teeth whitening treatments with your dentist and they will give you their honest professional opinion. Consult Dr. Alex Rubinov, an experienced cosmetic dentist, for a truly professional opinion about teeth whitening. Please call at (718) 253-0800 to make an appointment.

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