Teeth Grinding in Hermitage, PA

Teeth Grinding Treatment | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family DentistryDo you find yourself grinding your teeth occassionally?

It’s very common, and almost everyone does so from time to time. In most cases, stress and tension are the cause. But for some people, teeth grinding is a chronic problem.

As time goes by, excess stress on the jaw can lead to symptoms of head and neck pain, as well as abnormal wearing of the teeth.

Our Customized Night Guards Provide Rapid Relief

Teeth grinding most often occurs during sleep, so you may not even be aware that it’s happening. However, if you wake up with chronic headaches or unexplained shoulder pain, you may be grinding your teeth. These symptoms can become so severe that they actually impact your quality of life.

Over the years, we have helped many patients overcome the painful symptoms of teeth grinding. We create a custom-made device referred to as a night guard (or occlusal splint) that offers quick relief from the painful symptoms of grinding.

The appliance is designed to prevent your upper and lower jaw from coming into contact with each other. This makes teeth grinding virtually impossible, eliminating chronic discomfort and restoring normal movement to your jaw.

Reasons for Teeth GrindingNight Guard | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family Dentistry

Teeth grinding can be the result of muscle tension or a dysfunction of your temporomandibular joint, the joint that allows your upper and lower jaw to move and come together.

Some people experience grinding and clenching because of a misaligned, or unbalanced, dental bite. A dental bite that’s out of alignment places excess force on one side of your mouth. This causes you to grind your teeth, creating constant, unnatural force on the jaw joint and resulting in head and neck pain.

The Problem with Teeth Grinding

These painful symptoms are bad enough, but the constant force placed on your teeth can also lead to other serious dental problems, including:

  • Excessive, uneven wear on teeth
  • Fractured or chipped teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder)

Addressing teeth grinding with a night guard is an easy and affordable way to prevent these problems from occurring. 

TMJ Treatment | Hermitage, PA | Thomas Family DentistryPersonalized Patient Care

Before deciding if a night guard is right for you, our doctors will sit down and talk to you to discuss your symptoms. After this, we’ll do a thorough examination of your teeth to identify the possible reasons for your teeth grinding.

All our patients receive personalized care, and we will take all the steps necessary to uncover the reason for your discomfort. We will then work with you to find the solution that relieves the painful symptoms of teeth grinding while protecting your oral health.

In some cases a night guard is not the best solution. If so, we’ll be happy to refer you to a specialist for further evaluation.

There really is no reason for you to spend another day living with the symptoms of teeth grinding. If you suspect that your headaches or neck pain are related to grinding, please give us a call so we can arrange a convenient consultation with one of our doctors.

 

HOME TREATMENT FOR TMJ DISORDER

Often jaw problems resolve on their own in several weeks to months. If you have recently experienced TMJ pain and/or dysfunction, you may find relief with some or all of the following therapies...
Moist Heat. Moist heat from a heat pack or a hot water bottle wrapped in a warm, moist towel can improve function and reduce pain. Be careful to avoid burning yourself when using heat.
Ice. Ice packs can decrease inflammation and also numb pain and promote healing. Do not place an ice pack directly on your skin. Keep the pack wrapped in a clean cloth while you are using it. Do not use an ice pack for more than 10 - 15 minutes.
Soft Diet. Soft or blended foods allow the jaw to rest temporarily. Remember to avoid hard, crunchy, and chewy foods. Do not stretch your mouth to accommodate such foods as corn on the cob, apples, or whole fruits.
Over the-Counter Analgesics. For many people with TMJ Disorders, short-term use of over-the-counter pain medicines or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen, may provide temporary relief from jaw discomfort. When necessary, your dentist or doctor can prescribe stronger pain or anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, or antidepressants to help ease symptoms.
Jaw Exercises. Slow, gentle jaw exercises may help increase jaw mobility and healing. Your health care provider or a physical therapist can evaluate your condition and suggest appropriate exercises based on your individual needs.  
Relaxation Techniques. Relaxation and guided imagery can be helpful in dealing with the pain that accompanies TMJ dysfunction. Deep, slow breathing enhances relaxation and modulates pain sensations. Some have found yoga, massage, and meditation helpful in reducing stress and aiding relaxation.
Side Sleeping. Sleep on your side using pillow support between shoulder and neck.
Relax Facial Muscles. Make a concerted effort to relax your lips, and keep teeth apart.
Yawning. Use your fist to support your chin as you yawn to prevent damage to the joint and prevent your jaw from locking open.
In addition, avoid:
Jaw clenching.
Gum chewing.
Cradling the telephone, which may irritate jaw and neck muscles.
 
Be sure to discuss your jaw limitations with your doctor prior to surgery or a long dental appointment so he/she uses extreme caution. Anesthesia, often used during dental procedures, can affect mouth opening and damage the joint. If possible, avoid long dental appointments requiring an open mouth for more than 30 minutes. 
Remember, if your TMJ problems get worse with time, you should seek professional advice. However, first and foremost, educate yourself. Informed patients are better able to talk with health care providers, ask questions, and make knowledgeable decisions.