Bruxism Treatment in Pasadena TX
Bruxism is a disorder in which the patient grinds, gnashes or clenches their teeth. Although some individuals may experience bruxism during the day, it most frequently occurs during sleep. Occasional teeth grinding is not harmful but when bruxism occurs often, the teeth can be damaged and other oral complications may occur. Dr. Paul Covell and his team treat Bruxism in our office located in Pasadena, TX. We also serve the surrounding areas, including Houston, TX.
What Are The Risks Of Bruxism?
Individuals who have bruxism are more likely to suffer from other sleep-related disorders, such as snoring or sleep apnea. Sleep partners may notice bruxism in one another and dentists can often diagnose the disorder based on evidence of damage to teeth or crowns they discover during routine examinations.
Aside from causing discomfort or pain in the jaw and face, bruxism can also lead to other complications.
- damage to the teeth, such as tooth erosion or fracture
- tension headaches
- temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), which causes pain and dysfunction in the joints connecting the jaw to the skull
- sleep disruption for both the person with bruxism and their bed partner.
Who is at risk for bruxism?
There is no specific known cause for bruxism, and for unknown reasons it is common in young children, often disappearing in adolescence. Individuals are more at risk for the disorder if they:
- Have certain abnormalities of the jaw
- Are stressed or anxious
- Have other sleep disorders
- Have missing, crooked, or misaligned teeth
- Drink alcohol to excess
- Are highly competitive or aggressive
- Smoke or drink caffeinated beverages
- Take illegal stimulants
Because stress, smoking, and consumption of alcohol, caffeine and recreational drugs can play a part in bruxism, healthy life changes and relaxation exercises, especially those involving the jaw and mouth, may help to resolve the problem.
What are the symptoms of bruxism?
Over time bruxism can wear down enamel, chip, and even fracture or loosen teeth. Bruxism can also cause damage to the inner cheek or tongue. During a dental examination, the dentist may discover early signs of the disorder, which is one of the reasons that regular dental check-ups are vital. Apart from a sleep partner reporting the sound of teeth grinding or clenching, the patient may become aware of the condition because they experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Facial or jaw pain
- Tight or fatigued jaw muscles
- Feeling that the jaw won’t open or close completely
- Headache at the temples
- Difficulty sleeping through the night
- Increased tooth sensitivity
A clicking sound as the jaw is opened or closed, typical of patients with TMJ, is often indicative of bruxism.
How Is Bruxism Diagnosed?
Dr. Paul Covell of Pasadena, TX, will likely diagnose bruxism during a routine checkup, but you may also mention any symptoms or concerns to your dentist. He may examine your teeth for signs of wear and ask about any jaw pain or discomfort. In some cases, a sleep study may be recommended to observe and record any nighttime teeth-grinding behavior. If TMJ is suspected by our dentist, imaging tests such as X-rays or MRIs may be used for further evaluation.
What Lifestyle Changes Can Help With Teeth Grinding?
Treatment for bruxism often includes a combination of self-care measures and medical or dental interventions. These can include:
- practicing relaxation techniques or stress management
- avoiding or cutting back on substances that may worsen bruxism, such as alcohol and caffeine
- receiving counseling or therapy to address underlying psychological factors
- using a mouth guard or splint during sleep
- receiving Botox injections to relax the jaw muscles
- undergoing dental procedures to repair damage caused by teeth grinding.
Work directly with your healthcare provider to find the best treatment plan for you. And remember, it’s never too late to start taking steps toward reducing bruxism symptoms and improving your oral health!
Can Worn Down Teeth Be Fixed?
In some cases, worn down or damaged teeth can be restored with dental procedures such as crowns, veneers, bonding, and fillings. However, Dr. Paul Covell encourages patients to address the underlying cause of bruxism to prevent further damage to the teeth. He can provide individualized recommendations for restoring and protecting your teeth. For some, this may include wearing a nighttime oral appliance to protect the teeth and any dental restorations that have been placed to repair those that have been worn down or cracked.
Does Bruxism Damage Dental Restorations?
Yes, bruxism can damage custom dental restorations, including dental crowns, dental bridges, and porcelain veneers. You are encouraged to work with Dr. Paul Covell and his team to address any teeth-grinding behavior and protect your dental work. This may include wearing a mouth guard or splint during sleep, receiving counseling or therapy, and undergoing dental procedures to repair the damage. Talk to Dr. Paul Covell about ways to protect your dental work from the effects of bruxism.
How bruxism is treated in Pasadena, TX
In addition to lifestyle changes that may diminish symptoms of bruxism, treatment options may include the use of a custom mouth guard to protect teeth from grinding at night. In some cases, a muscle relaxant may be prescribed to relax the jaw muscles. In severe cases where the patient’s bruxism has not responded to treatment, orthodontic adjustment or surgery may be considered.
In cases where bruxism has damaged teeth, a dentist should be consulted for any teeth restoration that may need to be performed. When bruxism is noticed in young children, it should be reported to the dentist promptly. Although, in all probability, the problem in children will resolve on its own over time, it is important that the dentist be aware and keep a careful watch for possible complications.
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