Prioritizing Our Patients' Health & Safety 

Dear patients,

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health. Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.
 
Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our office. Our infection control processes are made so that when you receive care, it’s both safe and comfortable. We want to tell you about the infection control procedures we follow in our practice to keep patients and staff safe.
 
Our office follows infection control recommendations made by the American Dental Association (ADA), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). We follow the activities of these agencies so that we are up-to-date on any new rulings or guidance that may be issued. We do this to make sure that our infection control procedures are current and adhere to each agencies’ recommendations.
 
You may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We made these changes to help protect our patients and staff. For example:
 
• If you are sick or concerned you might be sick, please cancel your appointment. You will not be penalized in any way for the cancellation, even at the last minute.
 
• Our office will communicate with you beforehand to ask some screening questions. When you get to the office, you are asked to remain in your car and call our office number 972-412-5064. A staff member will come out to you and you will be asked those same screening questions again and have your temperature taken before entering the office.
 
• If you are a new patient, we would really appreciate you using the online patient portal to fill out paperwork prior to your appointment.
 
• We will ask you to immediately wash your hands with soap and water when you enter the office.
 
• You may see that our waiting room will no longer offer magazines, children’s toys and so forth, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect. There will also be very few chairs present to avoid crowds in the waiting room. Computers will have disposable covers and counter tops, door handles, waiting room chairs and surfaces will be disinfected with increased frequency.
 
• Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you’re offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment. We will also ask that only the patient, and in necessary cases a legal guardian, enter the office. Older children and adults are requested to experience their appointments alone while family members remain in the car and/or waiting room.
 
• We will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the reception area at any one time.
 
We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice. To make an appointment, please call our office at 972-412-5064 or visit our website at www.mymouthdental.com.  
 
Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbors and friends.
 
Sincerely,
Dr. Ramsey, Dr. Montoya and Team

Bruxism

Woman holding jaw in painBruxism is a common condition which affects both adults and children. Also known as teeth grinding or clenching, bruxism is an involuntary condition linked to a variety of other concerns, including stress and misaligned teeth. When left untreated, grinding or clenching your teeth can cause damage to your enamel, as well as the jaw and surrounding structures. In severe cases, it can lead to fractures or tooth loss. Bruxism often occurs while sleeping and can go unnoticed for long periods of time. If your dentist identifies signs of grinding or clenching, they can recommend a treatment plan to alleviate your symptoms and protect your smile from further damage. 

Understanding Bruxism

Bruxism refers to a condition in which individuals clench or grind their teeth while awake or asleep. In most cases, patients are unaware of clenching or grinding but may notice associated symptoms, such as:

  • Tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Pain or soreness in the jaw, neck, or face
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears
  • Sores on insides of the cheeks or lips from biting
  • Restricted jaw movement
  • Dull headaches that start at the temples
  • Clicking in the jaw joints
  • Enlargement of the jaw muscles, called masseter hypertrophy

Your dentist may also notice wearing or damage to your teeth due to excessive pressure, such as cracks, chips, loose teeth, or flattening of the chewing surfaces. If you have a sleeping partner, they may hear clicking, grinding, gnashing, or other sounds which are indicative of bruxism.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

While the exact reasons for bruxism are not fully understood, it is likely caused by a combination of physical, psychological, and genetic factors. A common cause of grinding and clenching in adults is stress. Misalignment of your teeth can also result in bruxism. There are several risk factors for bruxism, such as:

  • Certain medications
  • Consumption of tobacco, caffeine, or alcohol
  • Recreational drug use
  • Negative feelings, such as stress, tension, and anger
  • Family history
  • Medical conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
  • Sleep-related disorders, such as sleep apnea

Bruxism is especially common in young children and usually resolves before adulthood. Of course, adults can develop the condition as well. 

What Are the Effects of Bruxism?

In some cases, grinding and clenching are so mild that treatment is not required. However, the constant pressure exerted on your teeth and jaw muscles can lead to serious health concerns. The consequences of untreated bruxism can include:

  • Damage to teeth, restorations, and the jaw
  • Persistent headaches 
  • Severe facial or jaw pain
  • Loose teeth
  • Tooth loss
  • Receding gums
  • Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
  • Insomnia

In some cases, the effects of bruxism fade as soon as the condition is treated. By lessening pressure on your teeth, for example, you can reduce or eliminate issues such as sensitivity and pain. However, damage to your teeth can have long-term, or even permanent, effects and require additional dental treatments in the future. 

Bruxism Treatment Options

For some patients, reducing their stress levels can provide sufficient relief from grinding and clenching.

Your dentist can examine your oral health and determine the optimal treatment plan for you. For some patients, reducing their stress levels can provide sufficient relief from grinding and clenching. However, in many cases, treatment is required.

Oral Appliance Therapy

There are a few ways to protect your teeth from the forces of grinding and clenching. Your dentist may recommend a custom night guard to wear while you sleep. This treatment is especially helpful if your bruxism symptoms mainly occur at night. In addition, splinting can redistribute the force of your bite by connecting multiple teeth together. Your dentist can place a temporary or permanent splint depending on your needs.

Orthodontics or Bite Adjustments

When your teeth do not fit together properly, you unconsciously adjust your bite throughout the day in an attempt to find a comfortable position. This process can cause you to grind or clench. If your symptoms are due to misalignment, orthodontic treatment or another form of bite adjustment can help reduce or eliminate bruxism. 

Medications

If your bruxism does not respond to other treatments, your dentist may recommend you take a muscle relaxant before bed. Additionally, if your clenching or grinding is related to anxiety, your doctor may prescribe a medication to relieve stress. Bruxism is also a side effect of certain medications. Switching to a different prescription may alleviate your issues. 

BOTOX® Injections

Woman receiving injection in her jawThere is some evidence to suggest that injection of BOTOX, a form of botulinum toxin, can help patients with severe bruxism that does not respond to other treatments. Since BOTOX limits muscle movement, it may be able to help reduce your symptoms. BOTOX injections are a temporary solution for bruxism and will require ongoing treatment.

Treating Underlying Conditions

Bruxism caused by another medical condition, such as sleep apnea or GERD, may resolve by simply treating the underlying condition. Be sure to provide your dentist with your full medical history so they can identify possible causes of your clenching or grinding. 

How to Prevent Bruxism

There are a few home-care techniques that can help prevent clenching and grinding, including:

  • Stress reduction and anxiety management techniques, such as meditation
  • Limiting or avoiding caffeine and alcohol, especially in the evenings
  • Special exercises to ease jaw tension
  • Developing a regular sleeping schedule

These methods may not work for everyone, especially if your bruxism is severe. Your dentist can evaluate your oral and overall health and recommend solutions tailored to your specific needs.

Protect Your Smile

Bruxism can have damaging effects but the condition can be treated. Schedule an appointment today to learn more about how you can find relief. 

My Mouth Dental and My Kidz Mouth Dental

At My Mouth Dental and My Kidz Mouth Dental, we are committed to providing the very highest standard of care for patients of all ages. Drs. José Montoya, Ashley Ramsey, and Neha Khanolkar provide a range of services and are affiliated with:

  • The American Dental Association
  • The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry
  • The College of Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry

Are you ready to achieve excellent oral health? Reach out to our practice by requesting a consultation online or calling us at (972) 412-5064.

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Rowlett Office

9101 Lakeview Parkway
Suite 200
Rowlett, TX 75088

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