If you suffer from bruxism (teeth clenching), or have noticed excessive wear on your teeth, you have an important decision to make: what are you going to do about it? You have to make the decision carefully, because what you decide will control the future of your teeth.
Option 1: Do Nothing
You always have the option of doing nothing about this problem. After all, maybe it will correct on its own, right?
Probably not. No matter what may be true of the majority of TMJ sufferers, in cases where you have noticeable wear on your teeth because of the problems, chances are it’s only going to get worse. As your teeth continue to wear down, your jaw will move further out of position, which will increase stress on the jaw muscles and jaw joint, which will tend to increase episodes of bruxism. You will notice more jaw pain and headaches.
And once you’ve worn through the enamel on your teeth, exposing the softer dentin inside, wear can accelerate, and your teeth will be even more vulnerable to decay.
Option 2: A Removable Orthotic
Another potential option is to have a removable orthotic, also called a bite splint. This not only creates a physical barrier that can protect your teeth, especially from night clenching, but it puts your jaws in a healthier position, resulting in less tension in the jaw muscles and therefore fewer episodes of bruxism, as well as less headaches and other symptoms of TMJ.
The removable orthotic also has several other benefits. You can wear it as much as you like, allowing you to transition gradually into repositioning your bite.
Option 3: A Fixed Orthotic
A fixed orthotic has similar treatment goals to the removable orthotic, but it’s bonded to the teeth. This can help if you need to wear your orthotic all day to influence your bite position. It also helps if your bite needs very precise adjustment that isn’t being properly controlled by your removable orthotic, which has a much more variable position in your mouth and on your teeth.
Option 4: Full Mouth Reconstruction
Full mouth reconstruction takes the fixed orthotic principle, but instead of using an orthotic, we reconstruct your worn teeth to hold your jaw in a proper position. This is a significant treatment, it’s invasive and permanent, and we take great care in making sure that the reconstruction will give you the desired results before we attempt it. Typically, you’ll have had a removable orthotic and/or a fixed orthotic beforehand, giving you plenty of time to appreciate the results of repositioning your bite.
If you are concerned about the grinding down of your teeth and want to learn more about your options, please call (912) 234-8282 for an appointment with a Savannah neuromuscular dentist at Beyond Exceptional Dentistry.