Protecting your smile for the long-term takes more than brushing and flossing at home. In order to maintain a healthy smile for years to come, you really want to monitor your oral health for any structural problems or changes. One structural oral health problem that is surprisingly common, and, unfortunately, damaging, is bruxism.
What is bruxism?
When we use the term “bruxism,” we are referring to chronic dental grinding and clenching. This can occur day or night. Sometimes bruxism is situational, meaning that it only pops up during times of stress. Other people, however, suffer from chronic bruxism, which requires more targeted treatment.
What kinds of treatments are effective?
As you would imagine, in order to properly treat dental grinding and clenching, our dentist must first determine the underlying cause of your bruxism. Based on what we find, we’ll recommend a course of treatment.
Stress-related bruxism can often be addressed with simple anxiety-reduction measures. For some people, simply being mindful of clenching during the day is enough to deter the habit.
If, however, your bruxism is caused by some kind of structural dental dysfunction, dental treatment can help to alleviate the problem. Many times, bruxism develops because a patient’s top and bottom teeth do not come together in an even and healthy way. Orthodontic treatment can correct misalignment and protect your smile. Additionally, dental bonding and restorations can build up poorly proportioned teeth, so as to create a more balanced smile.
Our dental team can also create customized oral appliances to protect your teeth from damage due to bruxism. The oral appliance can guide your lower jaw into a better position so that your top and bottom teeth are able to come together at a better angle. Additionally, the oral appliance serves as a buffer between your top and bottom teeth to minimize dental enamel damage and thinning.
When you are able to treat bruxism in a timely manner, you minimize your risk of developing additional, related oral health problems down the road. If you think that you’re dealing with bruxism, please reach out to our St. Louis dentists for more information and treatment. We are here to help get the treatment you need, precisely when you need it!