Grinding your teeth, also known as Bruxism, can potentially cause tooth cracking, wear down your tooth enamel, increase tooth sensitivity, and, in some cases, cause a Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, also known as TMD. Tooth grinding is typical in patients with high levels of stress and usually occurs while the patient is asleep which can cause the condition to go unnoticed. With regular dental visits, your dentist can catch the signs of tooth grinding and provide treatment before damage to your teeth occurs.
If you are diagnosed with nightly tooth grinding, Dr. De la Torre can make you a custom nightguard that will protect your teeth from damage. The nightguard is made from impressions taken of your teeth and should be worn every night while you sleep.
While sleeping the muscles in your mouth and throat relax and can potentially cause your airway to narrow. If the airway is only moderately narrowed it can cause nightly snoring. While not necessarily harmful, snoring can disturb the sleep of others around you. However, snoring can also be a sign of a more serious issue: sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when the narrowing in the throat is significant enough to partially or completely cut off the air supply to the lungs. If left untreated, sleep apnea can cause a large number of serious conditions like hypertension and heart disease.
If you regularly snore, Dr. De la Torre can refer you to a sleep specialist who can perform a sleep study to find out how much narrowing of your airway occurs while you sleep. If the narrowing is very significant you will be prescribed a CPAP machine to wear at night to alleviate the narrowing. However, if the narrowing is mild to moderate, the sleep specialist can recommend the use of a snore-guard. A snore-guard is an custom made appliance that is worn nightly to reduce airway narrowing. Upon request from the sleep specialist, Dr. De la Torre can take impressions to create your custom snore-guard.
The Temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects your jaw bone to the bones on the sides of your head and, along with the muscles surrounding it, allows your jaw to move. Problems with this joint can cause pain along your face, stiffness and locking of the jaw, and trouble opening and closing your mouth. The cause of these issues is not readily known although they have found that it is either the result of a problem with the joint itself (TMJ) or a problem with the muscles surrounding the joint (TMD). TMJ/TMD, while not completely curable, can be managed through a variety of methods like a change in diet, using a custom made night guard, using heat packs on the painful area, and doing relaxation techniques for the muscles that move your jaw. If you experience any of the symptoms of TMJ/TMD, Dr. De la Torre can help you find the treatment plan that works best for you.
If you reside near Tampa, Fla., instead of avoiding the dentist, let Dr. Alina de la Torre and her staff perform your dental procedures while you are comfortably sedated. To learn more, contact Delatorre Dentistry at 813.792.9400 today.