Dentistry/Bruxism

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Question
Hi Jonathon, I wonder if you can help me.
I have suffered with anxiety disorder for three years now, and as a side effect from both my anti-depressants and the disorder, I have awful problems with jaw clenching. It can happen both in the daytime (subconsciously) and night time, as a result my gums are always very sore and loose, not to mention constantly bleeding, I also find my teeth have become very sensitive. I try to brush twice a day when they are not too uncomfortable, but I feel like they are just becoming more and more irritated. What can I do to get my gums back on track?

Thank you,

Demi

Answer
Hi Demie,

Yes, I would like to help you.  The good news is that your condition is very fixable.

You have correctly discerned that your anxiety is causing your bruxism....which in turn is making your gums and teeth very sore.

You need to do address a few things:

First:  
What is the cause of your anxiety?  Since you are already taking anti-depressants, I am assuming you are already seeing a mental health professional.  Ask him/her for suggestions for anti-anxiety/muscle relaxing type medications.  If you are able to relax your jaw muscles, it will help your mouth feel more comfortable and mitigate the Bruxism.  If your mental health professional focuses primarily on pharmacology, then also seek out a licensed therapist who you can talk to about your life's stresses and how to deal with them.

Second:
Since Bruxism is your problem, then you should be wearing a Night Guard to sleep in.  The night guard acts as sort of a buffer to prevent your teeth from grinding while you sleep.  A properly fitted night guard will minimize your Bruxism and get your mouth feeling more comfortable. What you need to find is a Board Certified Dentist who spends the majority of their time working on TMJ and Bite Problem Cases and makes a lot of Night Guard Appliances.  Not somebody who cleans teeth one minute, fills a cavity the next, then about once a month has a patient who has a TMJ or Bruxism complaint and requires a Night Guard.  One Hundred percent of dentists can make a Night Guard Appliance for you, but only a small percentage have the necessary practice to do it properly. Sometimes if can take several visits to the dentist to get your Night Guard just right.

Don't wait.  Work on these tasks right away.

I wish you the best of luck.

Best Regards,
Jonathan
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Dentistry

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Jonathan at PatientBabble

Expertise

My area of expertise from the patients point of view would be Dentistry/TMJ plus the speech challenges that these jaw and bite problems sometimes represent. Over the years I have seen a multitude of dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, speech therapists, neurologists and other health professionals who all had an opinion about my TMJ/bite problem. I AM NOT A DOCTOR...but would purely be a patients point of view type person. I "get it" when people say they tried to explain to their dentist what their TMJ/bite problem is and that they are misunderstood. I can listen to people's trials and tribulations and there is a good chance I have been down that road before. I can make suggestions as to what people can do at home, or what questions to ask their doctor or dentist when they visit. I will try and recall information or experiences that may be helpful to you.

Experience

About 25 years ago, I had my wisdom teeth out and since then my bite has never felt "normal." For whatever reason, the first sensation I remember was not that my bite was off.....but rather that my normal tongue and speech patterns had been impeded. I spent years going to different dentists, who lumped me into their generic version of what they knew about TMJ. The majority of dentists believe they can treat TMJ, but only those whose primary focus is TMJ treatment, are really any good at it. Any dentist, can take an impression of your teeth, send that impression off to the lab and have them make a night guard. That is the easy part. The tricky part is what the dentist does with the night guard, once receiving it from the lab. The dentist has to do a "fitting" where they tailor the night guard to be evenly balanced and comfortable in your mouth. Sometimes it can take a few visits, because further adjustments need to be made to the night guard appliance, to get it just right. I have found that dentists, who have had the most practice, do a better job at fitting your appliance. It's almost like an art form.

Organizations
Jonathan's Blog is: https://patientbabble.squarespace.com/jonathans-blog

Education/Credentials
College Graduate with Bachelor of Arts Degree

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