Protect your healthy, attractive smile from damage caused by chronic teeth grinding or bruxism

Tooth sensitivity. Prematurely damaged fillings, crowns, or other dental restorations. Chronic headaches. Chipped teeth. These and many other concerns and symptoms may be caused by chronic teeth grinding. As an expert in oral anatomy and function, Dr. Summer Gutschow of Innovative Dental Care in Omaha, Nebraska, is often on the front lines of detecting this destructive condition, known as “bruxism.”

About bruxism

Bruxism remains an elusive condition. It is associated with emotional distress and “Type A” or competitive personality types. Additionally, the use of caffeinated beverages or other products and medications can increase the risk of developing bruxism.

From the dentist’s perspective, bruxism is extremely destructive. It can threaten the structure and health of both natural teeth and the restorations used to rebuild damaged or decayed teeth. It also places considerable stress on the rest of the mouth and the tissues and structures connected to the teeth. For instance, it’s not unusual for patients with bruxism to experience many “TMJ” symptoms.

The “TMJ” refers to the temporomandibular joints or the hinges on either side of the face facilitating smooth jaw movements. So, when the joints function correctly, motions are easy and efficient and do not produce pain. When TMJs are “stressed,” patients may experience chronic tension headaches or migraines, radiating facial and jaw pain, and “locking” or jaw stiffness when opening and closing the mouth.

Relief at the dentist’s office

Dr. Summer has developed a niche in oral appliance therapy. Oral appliances are primarily devices that slip into the mouth. Depending on your needs, the lightweight device or guard may gently be placed in the mouth to protect the teeth from damage caused by chronic bruxism.

Or, the device may protect the teeth and prevent the back teeth from touching when you grind your teeth or clench your jaws. In doing so, the extreme force placed on the jaws and tissues during teeth grinding is alleviated. So, patients may notice reduced severity and frequency of headaches and other TMJ symptoms.

Patients who experience both awake bruxism and nocturnal bruxism (during sleep) may benefit from the smaller devices, which can be worn discreetly while working at a computer, for instance. Relaxation techniques can also be helpful for those patients who tend to brux when they are stressed out, concentrating heavily, or frustrated.

Still, other types of appliances may be prescribed to reposition the jaws, opening up the airway to promote better breathing during sleep and reduce snoring. We are also providers of the multi-faceted Vivos® system for sleep apnea.

Dr. Summer doesn’t assume that all bruxism is associated with emotional distress/anxiety. She carefully diagnoses each patient looking for the specific root cause, and is careful to rule out any potential underlying systemic disease such as tonsillitis or sleep apnea.

Protection of your healthy, beautiful smile and relief from pain and other disruptive symptoms is right around the corner – at Innovative Dental Care. We are conveniently located off Dodge Road along the West Dodge Corridor. Call (402) 933-8005 to schedule your visit with Dr. Summer today!