What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is defined by John Hopkins’ Medicine as a symptom in which you unconsciously grind or clench your teeth. You may clench and grind your teeth during the day or at night while you sleep. You may not even realize you have it. According to the ADA Health Policy Institute published in September of 2020, bruxism has increased by nearly 60 percent since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Bruxism is typically a result of stress and anxiety. The majority of dentists have seen increases in stress-related oral health conditions since the onset of the pandemic. These include bruxism (59.4%), chipped and cracked teeth (53.4%), and TMD (53.4%).
The Symptoms of Bruxism:
John Hopkins’ Medicine lists several warning signs that you are suffering from Bruxism.
- Abraded Teeth
- Chipped or Cracked Teeth
- Facial Pain
- Overly Sensitive Teeth
- Tense Facial and Jaw Muscles
- Dislocation of the Jaw
- Locking of the Jaw
- Wearing Away of the Tooth Enamel, Exposing the Underlying Dentin (Inside of the Tooth)
- A Popping or Clicking in the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)
- Tongue Indentations
- Damage to the Inside of the Cheek
- Wear Facets (Flat Smooth Areas Created on the Biting Surfaces of the Teeth as They are Rubbed Together Repeatedly)
While particularly common in children, teeth grinding at night (nocturnal bruxism) is estimated to affect more than 8% of adults. Associated with stress, caffeine intake, and sleep apnea, bruxism can cause several unwanted side effects. Loss of enamel and even cracked teeth can occur. There are many options available to sufferers of bruxism, both to deal with the side effects and protect the teeth from grinding in the first place.
Solutions For Bruxism
Things become more complicated when you also need to wear a retainer at night. Regular retainer usage is essential to maintain the alignment of your teeth after an orthodontic procedure. How can you preserve both your teeth alignment and protect against bruxism? We are asked this question regularly. Well, do not despair, there are indeed solutions to this problem. Our team is here to help you identify which one would work best for you.
The primary function of a nightguard is to protect the teeth from grinding or clenching. With a hard night guard, its secondary function is to also prevent the teeth from shifting. However, a nightguard will not work as well as dedicated retainers do to prevent the teeth from shifting. We recommend getting both a hard night guard and a retainer for optimum impact. You can wear the night guard most nights and wear the retainer a couple of nights a week to confirm that the teeth are not shifting.
In severe cases, an Essix retainer can be worn during the day to keep teeth from shifting, and the night guard can protect against grinding on a nightly basis.
Essix Plus Retainers
For many, a new solution that can make life simpler is the new Essix plus material. The new material is much more wear-resistant than the standard Essix material, meaning that Essix plus retainers will be able to take moderate teeth grinding but not heavy teeth grinding. This means that most bruxism sufferers can now kill two birds with one stone and not have to worry about choosing between optimum teeth alignment or grinding protection. However, if you are a heavy teeth grinder, you will either need to opt for the separate night guard/retainer option or be prepared to replace your Essix plus retainers more often.
Depending on your level of grinding helps decide the correct option for you. If you have questions please contact us at [email protected] or at 262-290-2396.