Bite disorders, like teeth grinding or clenching (also known as bruxism), can be problematic and difficult for patients to identify on their own because they tend to occur during sleeping hours. However, if bruxism continues to be left untreated, patients can experience pain, lose functionality of their teeth, or even physically lose their teeth.
Some common symptoms of bruxism include:
- Breakdown of the masticatory muscles around the mouth, and the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) in the jaw
- Fractured or “worn down” teeth
- Sore facial muscles
- Headaches, neck aches, and upper backaches
- Inability to widely open the jaw
- Locking of the jaw
If you think you may have a bite disorder, our cosmetic dentist, Dr. Tom Horak, suggests you visit an experienced dentist to receive a diagnosis and proper treatment. At our office, treatment for bruxism varies based on the amount and cause of damage.
Possible treatment options can include:
- A night guard – Oral appliance used to correct bite problems
- Restoring damaged teeth with porcelain crowns, porcelain dental bridges, dental implants, or tooth colored fillings
- Physical therapy and oral muscle exercises
- Application of moist heat over affected oral muscles
- Pain medication and/or muscle relaxants
- Moving the teeth into a healthier position with braces
- Bite adjustment – Polishing down the teeth to improve fit and function
It’s been said maintaining healthy teeth could add up to 10 years to your life expectancy, so be sure to visit our office if you think you may have a bite disorder. Early treatment can help save your teeth and improve your oral health!
If you have any questions about bite disorders or bruxism, or if you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Dr. Horak, please contact us today.