Sometimes chronic stress or high-pressure situations can cause people to develop a damaging habit known as bruxism. It can happen at night or during the day and is common in about one third of the population. The inappropriate tendency to constantly clench or grind the teeth can be related to poor stress management. In fact, bruxers are often those personality types who react to stress with anger, pain, frustration, aggression or competition. It is a harmful habit that wears down biting surfaces, misaligns the bite, and can lead to serious dental problems, we screen each patient for warning signs: unexplained sensitivity in teeth and gums, jaw pain, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, popping and clicking jaws, tense muscles, headaches, excessive wear or flatness on teeth, worn enamel, partially exposed and sensitive tooth interior (dentin), and/or tongue indentations. In severe cases, we may find that frequent clenching and grinding has moved the entire jaw out of balance.
Once identified, we can often treat bruxism with a revolutionary little acrylic mouthpiece/mouth guard. How does it work? Recognizing that bruxism starts with a jaw muscle malfunction, not a bite problem, this device actually interrupts the involuntary tug of war between the jaw and temporal muscles, reducing clenching intensity by one-third. Further, the device causes the muscles to relax in a stable position, so that you and those hyperactive malfunctioning muscles can rest. Often this eliminates bruxism related headaches and/or various kinds of TMJ pain within just a few days of fitting the device!