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Teeth Aren’t Meant to Grind

To Brux or Not To Brux?

Believe it or not, we didn’t make that word up. That would be Shakespearean, and well…we’re not in the business of crafting words—we’re happy with crafting confident smiles. Bruxism is actually the term used to describe the condition of grinding your teeth, and it turns out it’s not really a choice at all.

Most teeth grinding takes place during sleep. If this only happens once in a while, there’s not a lot to worry about, but if you’re a chronic tooth grinder, it can lead to big problems: damaged teeth, TMJ or other jaw conditions, headaches, and more. The tricky thing about being a teeth-grinder is that it’s pretty hard to catch yourself in the act. There are, however, symptoms to watch for that might indicate you have a problem with grinding your teeth at night.

Grinding one's teeth is also called bruxism. Stress and anxiety can make it worse.

Grinding one’s teeth is also called bruxism. Stress and anxiety can make it worse.

A dental examination can help determine if you are suffering from bruxism. If you notice that your teeth look worn down or chipped, or that your jaw is tired when you wake up in the morning, this could indicate a problem. Other symptoms include headaches, earaches, or facial pain. Sometimes teeth grinding can also cause your tooth enamel to wear down and expose deeper layers of your tooth, which will also increase sensitivity.

There’s a lot of debate about what causes this condition, but there are plenty of things that are on the suspect list. Not surprisingly, stress and anxiety top the list as number one suspects. A lot of Americans suffer from stress, which leads to tension everywhere in the body, and the jaw can be one of the many places afflicted by stress tension. Some types of antidepressants can have side effects that cause bruxism. Problems with sleep can be an issue as well—teeth grinding can be related to disrupted sleep cycles. There are also physical problems that play a part—alignment issues, such as malocclusion, or missing and/or crooked teeth.

If you think you might be grinding your teeth, it’s important to see a dentist. There are steps we can take to stop the problem before it causes too much damage. The jaw is a powerful tool and when clenched it can apply up to 250 pounds of pressure. Think of the things you can crack with that amount of pressure!

At West Meade Dental, we’re able to offer not only a variety of services, but many options for paying for your service, as well. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Keeping up with dental examinations and hygiene can determine a lot of risk factors before they become a real problem.

By Shelley Sigur | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment

Anxious About Going to the Dentist?

Causes of Anxiety

Recently, a survey conducted by Peter Milgrom, showed the 5% to 8% of Americans avoid dentists out of fear.  20% however, will make a dentist visit if it is mandatory.  About two-thirds of the patients who were studied in this study relate fears back to negative past experiences.  The other third have anxiety as a side effect from cases such as mood disorders, types of abuse, and different types of post traumatic stress.  This could be connected to the fact that the patient does not have control, especially someone putting you in a place where you cannot respond to questions and having someone constantly over you.

It can be intimidating for some patients not to be able to speak.

It can be intimidating for some patients not to be able to speak.

What can dentists do?

Dentists can do their part by providing an environment that will come across as less threatening.  The location and design scheme are two things that can be visual factors. The way the dentist talks to the patient is another way they can prevent fear in their patients.  Some dentists use techniques such as telling the patient what will happen before they do it and asking for permission to continue, and stopping the procedure whenever they feel uncomfortable. Whether it is for regular check-ups or more extensive procedures, West Meade Dental is committed to helping you get the care you need.

What can patients do?

Even though it is reported that dental work leads to less pain than expected, there are a few steps you can take when preparing yourself for the dentist visit if you are frightened.  It is recommended you take someone with you that you trust.  Most places will even let the accompanist go in during the procedure.  You can also find something to distract yourself, usually television or music, or relaxation techniques.  For extreme cases, some dentists may make mild sedatives available to the patient, such as “laughing gas,” or recommend that you seek professional psychological therapy. Whatever it takes to ensure that you get the oral treatment you need, West Meade Dental is determined to assist patients through their fear.


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