The amount of force that can be generated when the teeth come together can be surprising. Under normal circumstances, this tremendous amount of force is necessary for grinding and chewing food. When these muscles are activated for reasons beyond biting and chewing, pain, discomfort, and damage can occur. For some patients, uncontrollable clenching and grinding of the teeth during the day or night can be bothersome. It may be comforting to know that your dentist in Irving can help to minimize and relieve this type of stress.
As the muscles that control the jaw joint are activated, these forces can actually be damaging to the teeth, the jaw joint, and the structures that support the teeth. Although the teeth are supported by the jaw bone, they are actually attached to the bone by microscopic fibers, called ligaments. When the teeth are subjected to excessive biting stress, these ligaments can become inflamed and eventually damaged.
For patients who suffer from bruxism, also known as clenching or grinding, your dentist may recommend an appliance designed to protect the teeth and jaw joint. Sometimes referred to as a night guard or bite guard, these appliances can effectively prevent the teeth from grinding against one another. The guards can also prevent the jaw muscles from activating, allowing the muscles to relax. Typically, patients who have used a bite guard will notice a significant decrease in morning headaches and neck pain.
Sometimes bite stress can literally be attributed to the way that the teeth fit together. When the teeth do not come together evenly, or when one tooth absorbs more stress than the others, bite stress is increased. Known as hyperocclusion, this type of bite pattern can be as harmful as bruxism. Your dentist may elect to evaluate and adjust your bite to promote harmony and reduce stress. This conservative type of treatment may consist of more than one appointment in which the dentist will carefully adjust the bite until balance is achieved.
When meditation and relaxation techniques are no longer helpful in reducing stress and tension, our dentists may recommend one or more solutions for reducing the discomfort and protecting the teeth and joints. Call 972-556-0600 today and learn more about your treatment options.