What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is a condition that is defined by gnashing, clenching, or grinding your teeth either when you are awake, or more often, when you sleep. Bruxism that occurs when you sleep is considered a sleep-related movement disorder and often coexists with other sleep disorders including sleep apnea and snoring.
For our patients that find themselves waking up with unexplained headaches, pain in their jaw, or feel unusually tired even after getting plenty of sleep, investing in our bruxism treatment is often the perfect solution. While occasionally grinding your teeth won’t cause any significant damage, doing so on a nightly basis can create serious dental and alignment complications.
If your bruxism is triggered by anxiety or stress, it’s likely occurring at night, and therefore more difficult to alleviate. The dental experts at Chicago Dental Arts specialize in treating bruxism that will prevent any damage that may be caused by excessive nighttime grinding.
If you suffer with mild symptoms, you may not require treatment. However, if you suffer from headaches, jaw pain, or your teeth are beginning to sustain damage, it is important to seek out treatment options. Many people who suffer with sleep bruxism don’t know they clench their jaw or grind their teeth when they are asleep until dental problems and other complications begin to develop.
Signs and Symptoms
Depending on the severity of the condition, you may experience flattened, fractured, chipped, or loose teeth, increased tooth pain or sensitivity, jaw, neck or face pain, headaches, sleep disruption, or tightness in the jaw.
The Evaluation Process
When you visit Chicago Dental Arts for your regular general dentistry check-up, or if you suspect you are grinding your teeth when you sleep, our highly trained dentists in Chicago, IL will evaluate your teeth for signs of bruxism. During your consultation, we will begin the evaluation process with a series of questions that may include:
- Do you wake up with headaches, migraines, or a tense jaw?
- Is it difficult or impossible to open your mouth fully?
- Do you hear/feel clicking when you chew?
- Has your partner ever heard you grind your teeth in your sleep?
- Are your teeth sensitive to cold?
- Have you ever caught yourself clenching your teeth when you are awake?
In order to evaluate the extent of your bruxism, our dentist may check for obvious dental abnormalities, such as chipped or broken upper and lower teeth, jaw muscles that are tender to the touch, and other underlying signs of damage like areas of scarring or damage to the inside of your cheeks.
Your Treatment Steps:
If we find that you are a good candidate for bruxism/TMD treatment, we will take an iTero Scan, which is a tool that offers an innovative advancement in dental technology. The iTero Scan is designed to measure the bite force of your jaw. It takes measurements with exceptional accuracy and precision, allowing us to identify the distribution of pressure and how this is impacting your pain.
NTI Appliances + Botox
We will create an NTI appliance for you.
The appliance is a strong type of polymer that fits over your top front teeth which allows only the front teeth to contact when your jaw closes. These teeth are equipped with a reflex that inhibits clenching of the jaw. As long as the front teeth only touch, the pain caused by clenching is substantially reduced.
This often provides overnight relief by relaxing your jaw muscles, and training your muscles to stop clenching. Since this appliance cannot be worn for more than 4 weeks at a time, it needs to be followed up with a proper full arch night guard.
In combination with the NTI appliance, Dr. Fedin may recommend Botox injections to help relax the jaw muscle. A small dose of Botox will be injected into the masseter muscle, which controls the movement of your jaw. The treatment will weaken the muscle just enough to stop it from moving the jaw involuntarily and clenching. The relaxation that comes as a result of this procedure will reduce headaches, facial pain, earaches, and migraines.
While relaxing these muscles significantly, you will still be able to display normal facial expressions and chew properly after receiving these injections. Additionally, the effects of the injections last about a year, at which time you will need to schedule another injection to keep the muscles from clenching again.
Our customization process yields an ultra-comfortable night guard that also offers a maximum level of protection – and the best part – it won’t interfere with your sleep. Your custom night guard will be made by taking impressions of your teeth and molding the guard to conform with your mouth. This will create a cushion for your molars and prevent your mouth from clenching while you sleep.
For our patients that find themselves waking up with unexplained headaches, pain in their jaw, or feel unusually tired even after getting plenty of sleep, investing in a night guard can be the perfect solution. While occasionally grinding your teeth won’t cause any significant damage, doing so on a nightly basis can create serious dental and alignment complications.
Once the impressions are taken, your custom night guard will be ready for you in 2 to 3 weeks. At this time, your dentist will make any necessary adjustments to ensure the pressure is being distributed evenly and the appliance feels comfortable and fits properly.
Your new night guard may even help your partner sleep better since it will reduce the noise you once made when grinding your teeth.
When to See Your Dentist
If you are dealing with any of the symptoms listed here, or have other concerns about your jaw, teeth, or dental health, it’s time to schedule an appointment with our highly trained dentists at Chicago Dental Arts.
Custom Night Guard Dentists in the Chicago Area
Our team at Chicago Dental Arts offers two offices conveniently located in Skokie, and Streeterville – in the heart of Downtown.
For more information on our NTI appliances, custom-made night guards, Botox injections, or any other dental service, please call us or fill out the appointment form – and a courteous and knowledgeable member of our team will get back to you shortly.
Don’t let bruxism ruin your teeth or your self-confidence – call Chicago Dental Arts to discuss the most appropriate treatment options for you. You’ll walk out of our office feeling confident about your new treatment plan and be on your way to a healthier smile!