Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

What causes Bruxism?

Chronic Stress Many people notice that they grind or clench their teeth during periods of stress. It may be that you tighten your jaw on your commute home from work, or that you wake up in the morning feeling sore because your jaws have been grinding against each other all night long. While stress isn’t always avoidable, some lifestyle changes can help. When possible, make changes to lower your stress level. Cutting back on caffeine, stimulants, and getting exercise can help your body to self-regulate. Sleep Apnea Certain types of sleeping disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea can also cause bruxism. The clenching and grinding occurs as your body starts to feel deprived of oxygen, causing he muscles to tighten up as you gasp for air. You may never realize that it’s happening until your teeth start to wear down or chip away. Your sleep partner may be the first person to pick up on the snoring, lapse in breathing, or noises from grinding your teeth.

How can I protect my teeth from grinding?

Before you start to wear your teeth away, here are a few things to talk to your dentist about: Protective bite splints — A custom bite splint or night guard is an excellent way to prevent the jaws from fully engaging to the point that teeth wear against one another. Smaller bite splints can easily be worn while you drive or work at your desk, giving you just enough space so that the mouth can be closed yet still relaxed. Injectables — Cosmetic injectables such as Botox have long been used to treat the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. But they can also be used as natural muscle relaxants, reducing tension headaches, TMJ disorder, and associated muscle fatigue caused by teeth grinding. Oral sleep appliances — When sleep apnea is the cause of Bruxism, an oral sleep appliance may be able to provide effective relief and a better night’s rest with the first use. Such appliances position the lower jaw in such a way that the airway is naturally opened, and the teeth do not engage one another. “Lips together, teeth apart” — When teeth grinding is a natural habit, it helps to reprogram our brains and the way our body rests. In the ideal situation, our mouth will be resting with the lips closed together, but the teeth about a pencil’s width apart.
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Bone Graft

What materials are involved in a bone graft?

Different types of materials are used in bone grafting. Examples include:
  • Your own bone taken from one part of your body, the “donor site,” and moved to another part of your body, the ‘’graft site”.
  • Bone taken from another person which is then sterilized and freeze-dried before being placed into your body.
  • Bone taken from an animal, usually a cow, which is then sterilized and freeze-dried before being placed into your body.
  • Synthetic and other materials Your dentist will advise you on which type of graft material will most effectively build bone in your situation.

What are the benefits of a bone graft?

Certain dental restorations, such as implants, may not be possible without bone grafting. Bone grafting increases the amount of bone available to support these restorations and to build your jaws and gums into a more ideal form.

What are the risks of having a bone graft?

Bone grafting procedures involve minor to moderate pain as well as the risk of infection to both the graft site and the donor site. There is also the risk of your body rejecting the bone graft and setting up an infection around it. When this occurs, the area must be cleaned and another bone graft must be done once the site has healed. Even when the bone heals well, grafting may need to be done more than once to build enough bone thickness for your dental restoration.

What are the alternatives to having a bone graft?

The alternative is to do nothing. Implants may not be possible and alternate dental treatments may not be as stable or comfortable.

Are there any post-treatment limitations once I have a bone graft?

After treatment you must be careful not to chew near or disturb the surgical site. As with any wound healing, a faster result with fewer complications will occur if the surgery sight is left unharmed. Once the bone graft has healed the area can be treated normally.
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Oral Sleep Apnea Appliances

What is an Oral Sleep Apnea Appliance? 

Oral sleep appliance therapy uses a holistic approach to treat OSA without bulky machines. Rather, the special “sleep mouthguard” or “mandibular advancement device” works by positioning your lower jaw in a slightly protruded position. As your jaw is guided forwards, it also brings the base of the tongue forward with it. When we achieve this position, it helps prevent the collapse of soft tissues from sealing off the upper airway (including your soft palate, tonsils, and esophagus.)

How do I tell if it is working?

Your oral sleep appliance is adjusted to find the best jaw position for your oral anatomy. A sleep diary can help determine how well it’s working, but most people see results as quickly as the first night’s use. You can also wear your appliance with a CPAP, but some individuals find it allows them to go without their CPAP machine altogether.

How do I get an oral sleep apnea appliance?

All you need to get an oral sleep apnea appliance is an impression of your teeth. If you haven’t had a sleep study conducted, it’s possible to have one that you complete at home. These simple bedside kits record the information needed for a proper diagnosis and are then interpreted by a pulmonologist or sleep physician.

What are the benefits? 

Benefits of mandibular advancement devices include: • More discrete to use • No noise to bother your family or roommate • Easier to clean and travel with • More flexibility with sleep positions • A holistic way to treat OSA If you have trouble sleeping, are a chronic snorer, or wake up in the morning with headaches, talk to a Kois Center dentist to schedule a sleep apnea screening and exam. Relief is just a phone call away!

Oral sleep apnea appliances

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Sports Mouthguards 

What kind of injuries can I sustain to my mouth?

Some of the more common injuries include: • Busted lips/lip lacerations • Knocked out teeth • Chipped teeth • Concussions • Broken jaws Unfortunately, most of the severe orofacial injuries wind up in the emergency room. Others leave lingering side-effects, such as concussions or the need for complex dental care (which isn’t available in the hospital.)

What’s the difference between a professionally made mouthguard and an over-the-counter mouthguard? 

Professionally made dental athletic guards offer the highest level of protection when it comes to hugging your teeth, buffering your lips, and even preventing the trauma that causes some types of concussions. Over-the-counter sports guards on the other hand, are usually a “boil and bite” design, or a one size tray. They tend to fit more loosely and can fall out easier. If you get hit in the mouth, the sports guard could come out before you wind up hitting the ground.

Do mouthguards really help with concussions?

Some types of concussions are caused by the posterior portion of your mandible (lower jaw) being forced back and upwards towards the brain. When this trauma happens, it can cause brain movement, similar to hitting your head from the outside. When you wear a special type of mouthguard designed for concussion protection, it lowers your chances of your mandible from radiating trauma up into your brain. For this reason alone, investing in a custom sports guards is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself or your favorite athlete.

How do I avoid broken and knocked-out teeth?

Mouthguards also protect teeth from getting knocked out or broken if there’s a blow to the mouth. The thick acrylic distributes the pressure and has enough width between the source of trauma and your tooth, that a fracture is less likely to occur. And since busted lips are usually worse when the skin is pushed into your teeth, having a protective barrier between them can lower the severity of facial lacerations.

How do I get a custom sports guard?

All you need to have an athletic guard made is to get an impression of your teeth. Most dentists can customize your appliance to match your team colors, too.
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Why is tooth position important?

If there is a problem in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together in biting or chewing, teeth may wear and fracture, and jaw joints and muscles may become painful. Over time, this may result in crooked, crowded, or protruding teeth. It may affect a person’s appearance, speech, or ability to eat.

What causes tooth position problems?

Tooth position problems may be inherited or acquired. Inherited conditions may include missing or extra teeth, abnormal spaces or crowding of teeth, mouth and jaw size and shape, and atypical formations of the jaws and face, including cleft palate. These conditions may be acquired through airway development issues, tongue positioning, enlarged tonsils and adenoids that lead to mouth breathing, clenching, grinding, habits like finger or thumb sucking, premature loss of teeth from an accident or dental disease, and medical conditions.

What are the consequences of improper tooth positions?

Although the consequences range from symptom free to painful, increased stress on the oral structures can have far reaching results. Tooth decay or abnormal signs of wear on chewing surfaces may occur in areas of tight overlap. Excessive wear and fracture of teeth, as well as jaw joint, muscular and nerve problems may occur to the extent that appearance, speech or ability to eat may be affected.

How is this diagnosed or detected?

When orthodontic problems are suspected, diagnostic records may be taken for further study. These records include photos, special x-rays and impressions or digital scans. The records are analyzed to determine the extent of malocclusion and the appropriate treatment. Braces are metal or ceramic brackets bonded to the teeth. A wire is then used to place pressure on the teeth causing them to move to the desired location.

What are treatment options?

Traditional orthodontic treatment, commonly known as braces, is often used to correct tooth position problems. Orthodontics can also be completed using a series of clear trays, each one putting progressive pressure on the teeth to move them into position. Common brand names of this type of treatment include Invisalign and ClearCorrect. There are also combination therapies using braces, clear aligner trays, and even surgery.

How long does treatment usually last?

Depending on the cause and severity of the malocclusion and the appliances used in treatment, a patient may expect correction of the condition to last 18-30 months. The length of treatment time is also affected by how well the patient follows orthodontic instructions.

Learn more at Suresmile & Invisalign

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