“Get a grip and keep a stiff upper lip” is often touted as good advice for dealing with life’s stressors. Unfortunately, all that true grit can eventually take its toll on more than our emotional wellbeing and affect our dental health as well.
Do you find yourself clenching your teeth throughout the day in response to stress? Or do you commonly wake up with a sore jaw or headache? Are your teeth sensitive and even feel a bit loose periodically?
You may suffer from bruxism—the grinding, clenching or gnashing of teeth. This condition affects up to one-third of adults in the daytime and more than 1 in 10 in their sleep. Over time, bruxism can lead to issues such as chipped teeth, cracked teeth, chronic headaches, TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder), and trouble sleeping. When tooth damage occurs as a result of grinding, restorative dentistry is necessary to repair the areas of concern.
Ready to take the first step in your smile journey? Schedule an appointment with us today!
Signs And Symptoms of Bruxism
One of the most common signs of bruxism is excessive tooth wear. Due to frequent grinding, teeth may literally wear down, becoming shorter or may even crack or break, exposing the dentin which is the most sensitive part of the teeth. If not treated early, bacteria can invade the worn-out tooth, potentially leading to cavities and other dental problems.
Other early signs and symptoms of bruxism include:
- Hypersensitive teeth
- Swollen gums
- Inflammation of the Periodontal Ligament (PDL)
- Loosening of teeth
- Grinding or tapping noise during sleep
How Your Alaska Dental Arts Dentist Can Help
There are several options to help restore the beauty and function of your teeth, and your Alaska Dental Arts dentist is ready to partner with you to determine the best choice for you. Selecting the right option will depend largely on the severity and location of the damage. Is the damage isolated in a particular area or specific tooth? Or is it more widespread throughout the mouth?
- Dental Crowns – If a tooth becomes cracked or broken, installing a dental crown can preserve and protect the remaining tooth. This tooth-shaped cap is placed over the tooth to restore its shape, size and strength, as well as to improve its appearance. This option is oftentimes used to treat extensive damage in a localized area typically requiring root canal treatment. It is also a good option for molars, which tend to endure the most pressure from biting, chewing and grinding.
- Porcelain Veneers – Veneers, are wafer-thin sheets of porcelain shells glued onto the front of teeth to restore their size, shape, and strength. Veneers are very durable; however, they are not typically applied to molars. Veneers require permanent change to your teeth and will need to be replaced in 10 to 25 years.
- Dental (Composite) Bonding – The dental bonding process involves the use of a non-metal composite (resin) to fix dental imperfections. It can be shaped like clay to build-out or fill-in. Bonding is then polished to easily match the teeth and their surroundings, thus making the difference barely noticeable once the procedure is done. Bonding is non-invasive and does not require enamel removal or the use of numbing medications. Bonding is also reversible, although we are sure you will enjoy your bright, beautiful, healthy smile!
Why To Consider Dental Bonding for Bruxism
Dental bonding the is an effective, affordable choice for repairing chips, gaps and jagged teeth, especially minor damage. Dental bonding is the easiest and the least expensive of all the procedures that can help patients with bruxism. It can lengthen the tooth, smooth jagged edges and protect the deeper layers of the tooth structure. The resin material is not quite as durable as a dental crown or porcelain veneers and may not be ideal for withstanding the pressure of molars and premolars.
Depending on the correction you wish or need to make, a combination of porcelain veneers and composite bonding might be the best option for you. Give us a call to discover your possibilities!
What Will Happen If You Avoid Teeth Grinding Treatment?
Teeth grinding and the wear and tear that comes with it can only get worse over time without proper intervention. Once your tooth’s enamel has been completely stripped and the dentin layer of the tooth becomes exposed pain and infection are likely to follow. With that comes more extensive treatment which can get expensive.
Mouth Guards and Occlusal Splints
You may want to discuss preventive measures with your Alaska Dental Arts professional as well, such as getting fitted for a mouth guard or occlusal splint. The use of a mouthguard works as the name suggests, “guarding” or protecting teeth from damage by grinding. However, mouth guards do not correct the problem of teeth grinding. Occlusal splints, on the other hand, guide the jaw as it moves side-to-side and front-to-back; protect the teeth from harmful habits and support the TMJ and muscles.
Your oral health is important and a significant part of whole health and wellness. Cosmetic dentistry can correct damage that has already been done and apparatuses can help prevent recurring damage. However, we recommend our patients also consider steps to reduce stress and prevent further dental distress, such as:
- Relaxation methods to ease the mind and reduce anxiety
- Life coaching or counseling
- Exercise, stretching or yoga
- Adjustments to diet to avoid tough or chewy foods
- Reduction in coffee or caffeinated beverages, especially later in the day
- Facial exercises to relax and massage the jaw
- Speaking to your doctor about any medications which may have side effects of teeth-grinding
Affordable Pricing with Alaska Dental Arts
If all this talk about cosmetic dentistry is creating more stress and questions of how you can possibly afford to restore your smile, fear not!
At Alaska Dental Arts:
- We understand that many patients delay or even forego important dental care due to financial concerns.
- We believe everyone deserves the same gold standard of care.
- We encourage all patients to share their financial concerns with us openly so that we can prepare a treatment plan that is affordable and works with your budget.
- We accept most types of insurance, in-house financing, and also accept Care Credit – flexible, third-party financing with no upfront costs or annual fees.
- We are confident we can work with any budget without compromising quality of care.
Alaska Dental Arts Dental Savings Plan
You should never have to put off getting the dental treatments you need. Our team at Alaska Dental Arts promises excellent care in a judgment-free zone… and now we are making it affordable too! Our Dental Savings Plan is designed to provide affordable, quality care for less than a dollar a day! So, the only thing you need to worry about is how confident you are with your new smile.
Are you interested in learning about our Dental Savings Plan? Contact us today to learn more!
For just $200/ year you will receive:
- The LOWEST fee schedule in the state! (Discounts on everything from crowns to implants!)
- $1,000 OFF Invisalign
- 50% OFF Teeth Whitening
- Plus, no annoying claim forms, waiting periods or yearly maximums
The Alaska Dental Arts Difference
Alaska Dental Arts provides compassionate and experienced dental services in a relaxing and luxurious setting without the luxury cost.Together, we can achieve the smile of you have always wanted. We look forward to helping make your dreams of achieving a stunning, healthy smile a reality.
Schedule an appointment with us today at one of our amazing locations in Anchorage, Juneau and North Pole