Our office has recently began using a new home sleep-monitor on selected patients, called the DDME Bruxism Monitor, to determine the best treatment options for people at risk for extensive tooth damage. New research indicates that people grind their teeth (bruxism) for specific reasons. While most patients attribute the habit to stress; that is often unrelated to a habit that leads to significant damage to the teeth and subsequent excessive dental expenses.
More often people clench and grind their teeth due either to bite (occlusion) issues OR an obstructed airway that occurs during sleep. Determining the underlying cause of tooth grinding/clenching will lead to dramatic differences in the recommended treatment to decrease the habit and protect the teeth. Prior to this research; all bruxism/clenching habits were treated the same. Selecting the wrong treatment can lead to an increase in the habit, and symptoms, while also leaving a dangerous condition untreated.
People that grind/clench their teeth due to bite or stress problems often need a more traditional (but well adjusted) ‘night guard’. Those who show signs of tooth damage from clenching/grinding, and who also report snoring or other indicators of poor sleep patterns, need a very different type of appliance. These type of appliances often improve or correct the airway problem, thus eliminating snoring and providing a more sound and restful sleep, while also protecting the teeth from bruxism. This can be a life-saver as those with Obstructive Sleep Apnea are prone to cardiac and stroke events.
We also now utilize a new in-office, inexpensive, bruxism/airway appliance that can be used to verify the effectiveness of this treatment. This appliance is called the BRX-PRO and is designed to be worn to prevent bruxism and also measure its impact on airway improvement (utilizing the DDME Bruxism Monitor). This is a very nice benefit to our patients as we can now measure the effectiveness of the appliance before they invest more time and money into the more permanent appliance.
Yellow Springs Dental strives to stay educated and ‘cutting-edge’ in order to continue to provide the best dental care possible for our family of patients. On your next visit; let us know if you want us to look further into helping you or your family members prevent damage to their teeth and eliminate an annoying snoring habit.