Have you suffered from headaches, jaw aches, or dental pain with no apparent cause? Some of that dental pain might stem from:
- Gum recession.
- Tooth aches.
- Loose teeth.
- Tooth damage, including cracks.
These symptoms can be caused by teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. This can sometimes even cause the loss of a tooth. In order to relieve these problems soon and to avoid worse issues, call us at Central Connecticut Orofacial Pain & Sleep Medicine to set up an appointment.
Causes of Teeth Grinding
Every case of teeth grinding is slightly different. Even the ways that patients grind their teeth are different. For example, some patients keep their jaw clenched continually, while others strike their teeth against each other or mash them together.
The reasons that patients grind their teeth are also varied, including:
- A misalignment of the bite, which naturally pushes teeth together in a damaging way.
- A breathing obstruction during sleep (sleep apnea).
- Anxiety caused by a daily stress or a sudden life event, causing jaw strain and grinding.
Given time, even temporary teeth grinding can lead to permanent damage to the teeth. It can also damage muscles and other tissues in the jaw and face, which can cause fatigue and spasms. Dr. Hollinger can treat the cause of these symptoms with dental appliances.
Customized Dental Splints
A dental splint made just for your teeth and jaw can relieve your teeth grinding during the night and resolve related issues. Depending on the causes of your bruxism, your splint could:
- Change your bite motion so that your teeth come together in a healthier way.
- Stop your teeth from grinding against each other.
- Prevent strain from being placed on your jaw and joints, which allows them to heal.
- Prevent stress from being placed on dental restorations, such as crowns.
When we create a customized splint for you, we use impressions of your mouth so that your splint will fit your teeth specifically. It will also be crafted to relieve your specific challenges. It’s not possible to go to a drug store and buy this level of customization.
You may be able to consciously stop grinding your teeth during the day, but your teeth and jaw joints could still be damaged by grinding during the night. That’s why you’ll place your splint over your teeth before bed, which will stop the teeth from touching each other, while also absorbing the force of your bite.
Splints are made of material that is comfortable to wear. You’ll likely use your splint for several weeks or months, and you’ll get used to it quickly—especially as it starts to relieve your pain. It will be fairly clear for both you and Dr. Hollinger if your symptoms are reduced. If more time or another method is needed, Dr. Hollinger will recommend another step.
Are Splints the Same as Night Guards?
Splints are similar to night guards but are also distinct in important ways. While night guards can prevent teeth from grinding together, a splint also supports the jaw joints and related muscles and guides them into a healthier position when you close your mouth during the night. This adjustment can relieve certain types of stress and damage to your tissues.
You can also wear a splint during the day, in some cases. This gives you more hours of protection from teeth grinding and more relief to your jaw joints and muscles.
Two Types of Splints
TMJ splints come in two categories:
- Permissive: You’ll be able to move your teeth and jaw freely. The splint will support your jaw in an ideal position when your jaw is closed. This is the most common type of splint, and it works well to relieve pressure in the teeth and jaw joints. While you will still be able to move your jaw freely, your teeth will be more protected.
- Nonpermissive: This type of splint restricts movement more, using indentations or ramps to keep your jaw movement in a narrow range. This is useful when correct jaw movements will make you more comfortable and help inflamed tissues heal more quickly. You’ll often need to wear your splint both at night and during the day.
Whichever type of splint we prescribe will be used to reduce your pain as quickly as possible and put you on a path for permanent healing, as well as protecting your teeth from damage.
Stop Teeth Grinding and TMD With a TMJ Splint
You don’t have to suffer from headaches, tooth aches, tooth damage, and other problems any more. Contact us at Central Connecticut Orofacial Pain & Sleep Medicine to start on bruxism treatment as soon as possible.
Dr. Hollinger is excited to relieve your pain and give you more happiness in your daily life. Call today for an appointment.