When you wake up in the morning you should feel refreshed. Well, to be fair a lot of us are hitting the snooze button and feeling pretty out of it, but once we get up and start moving that tends to change, right? Okay, maybe you need a cup of coffee first. But you’re not in pain, right?
A lot of people wake up with headaches, jaw pain, and sore muscles in their face and temples. If that sounds like you there’s a good possibility you’re suffering from a condition called bruxism. This involves unconscious grinding, gnashing, or clenching of the jaw and teeth, and only someone who suffers from it can truly tell you how painful it is.
Our New Orleans dentist office can treat your bruxism and its side effects – you shouldn’t wake up in pain!
The Effects Of Bruxism
If you’re a teeth grinder there’s a good chance you don’t know it. Many bruxers do it in their sleep, only alerting their partner if they’re grinding loudly. That’s one of the dangerous parts of bruxism: it can go undiagnosed for a long time!
Over time bruxism can lead to a number of painful conditions, such as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the spot where your jawbone attaches to your skull. It’s a simple joint, but it’s really sensitive to problems with your bite, and bruxism can cause some serious damage to its function.
If you end up with TMD you may experience headaches, difficulty chewing, lockjaw, pain in your facial muscles, pain on waking up, trouble opening your mouth, and clicking sounds in your jaw joint when you open and close it.
Bruxism itself can have its own list of effects on your oral health, and one of the most serious is premature wear and erosion of your teeth. Premature tooth wear is a serious problem if it doesn’t get treated right away!
The Dangers Of Tooth Wear
Your teeth should always have a slight rounding on their edges. If bruxism is causing them to wear down you might notice sharper points at the corners, discoloration near the tops, or slight chipping along the edges of the crowns. These signs easily go unnoticed because you see your teeth every day, which is why regular dental care is an essential part of catching the signs of early wear.
The enamel on your teeth is the first line of defense against cavities, and it’s also the first victim of tooth wear. Enamel is attacked by tooth acids every day, and if it’s worn out by bruxism your risk of developing cavities greatly increases.
The further a cavity gets into your tooth the faster it is able to spread due to the softness of the inner layers. You might not notice a difference, but it’s definitely there. In many cases of extreme tooth wear the inner layers of the teeth are exposed, making cavities a guarantee. When they’re able to spread faster it becomes even more serious!
You also have to contend with increased sensitivity to hots and colds as well. The enamel on your teeth is a protective layer against temperature as well as acids and bacteria. If they become worn all bets are off: you will feel the difference!
There’s a psychological cause to bruxing, making it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to actually cure. The best way to prevent the traumas and expensive restoration costs associated with is to cushion your teeth and prevent the grinding itself.
At 7 O’Clock Dental we treat bruxism and TMD through the use of custom-made mouthguards. Our advanced nighttime mouthguards keep your jaw in a comfortable and neutral position that prevents pain and also lets you brux without endangering your teeth.
Our mouthguards are made from soft, shock-absorbing rubber that responds to your clenching and chewing without letting you damage your teeth or your TMJ. You’ll love the feeling of rest and pain-free living that a simple piece of plastic can give you!
Don’t Let Tooth Wear Continue
We can easily identify the symptoms of tooth wear and bruxism at our New Orleans office. The key is to see you regularly so we can build a thorough history of care that includes detailed images of your teeth.