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McCall Family Dentistry
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Clench, Grind, Repeat: How To Break the Bruxism Cycle with Your Dentist’s Help

July 8, 2019
Posted By: Lindsey McCall

Search the internet about grinding your teeth, and a lot of results appear on the page in front of you…Did you know that there is an actual medical term for clenching and grinding your teeth?  Bruxism is the term for this condition, and it can be painful and destructive.  If you suffer from this malady, rest assured, you are not alone!  Bruxism is a common condition that affects approximately 30-40 million adults and children in the U.S. alone. According to The Bruxism Association, based in the UK, the most effective way to treat this condition is with a night guard made by your dentist at McCall Family Dentistry.  When you clench or grind at night, a night guard helps to lighten the tension and gives cushion to the muscles in the jaw.  Not only does a night guard prevent face and jaw pain, but it also protects your tooth enamel.  So how do you know if you’re a clencher or grinder?  Take a look at the checklist below….

Do you experience

  • Rhythmic contractions of the jaw muscles? 
  • Grinding sounds at night?
  • Jaw muscles that are tight or painful?
  • Long-lasting pain in the face?
  • Occasional swelling on the side of your lower jaw caused by clenching?

Bruxism can be a serious problem and you need to address it immediately with the dentists at McCall Family Dentistry.  Do not go it alone and buy a do-it-yourself night guard.  Studies show that you will yield the best results by working with our team!  Some of the signs that you need to have this conversation are…

  • Chipped teeth
  • Chronic grinding 
  • Wake with a headache often
  • You have Tamporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) 
  • You take antidepressants

According to the American Sleep Association, the best way to address this issue is to have a night guard made in our office by Dr. Ryan.  This type is the most effective because these night guards are made from impressions and are an exact match to your teeth. Again, steer clear of night guards you can purchase and do yourself.  They cannot be custom fit to your mouth with the accuracy you will receive from the dentists at McCall Family Dentistry.  In fact, you are more likely to need more expensive dental care in the future with store bought night guards.  A night guard made by Dr. Ryan is a worthwhile investment in the long run, and in many cases, dental insurance covers all or part of the cost!  Having a night guard made at our office has many benefits for clenching and grinding.  Here are the top six…

  1. Prevention of tooth damage - this can lead to chipped teeth, damaged fillings and excessive wear of the teeth and enamel.  Long-term damage can be done if both of these protective layers are worn away.  
  2. Less tension and pain - less stress on joints and muscles.  Your jaw muscles can exert a force up to 1300 Newtons!  Is it any wonder why you would have pain after clenching and grinding during a full night’s sleep?  
  3. Headache prevention
  4. Improved sleep patterns - a night guard facilitates muscle relaxation 
  5. Prevention of snoring - yes, your partner will thank you
  6. Money saving in the long-term - clenching and grinding damages and/or destroys your teeth, and restorative treatments for aesthetic and function can become expensive.

Guards are not for the night alone.  An estimated 20% of the population suffer something called awake Bruxism.  Be sure to also consult McCall Family Dentistry if you find that you are experiencing clenching and grinding during the day.  So what can you expect at your visit?  You will actually have to make two appointments.  But don’t worry, they are not lengthy by any means!  There are two types of night guards available, soft and hard.  Our team will recommend the the right one for you.  The first appointment should only last about 20 minutes, and Dr. Ryan will take an impression of your teeth in office.  At McCall Family Dentistry, we send them out to a lab to create the actual night guard from the impressions.  Your second appointment is a mere 10 minutes, and Dr. Ryan will place the night guard to assure the proper fit.  You will then receive instructions on how to properly care for your night guard.  

According to the National Sleep Foundation, about 10% of adults and 15% of children suffer from Bruxism.  Why suffer in silence?  Know that you are not alone and that McCall Family Dentistry can help!  A night guard is an easy solution to difficult problem.  They are lightweight, comfortable and practical!  If you are a person who clenches or grinds day or night, make an appointment to see us today.  Your joints and muscles will thank you!






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