Bruxism is the medical term for grinding or clenching your teeth and jaws. Grinding refers to moving the jaw back and forth. Clenching refers to biting down with excessive force for long periods of time. Bruxism is a common condition and normally occurs during sleep or times of stress. Many people do not even know that they grind their teeth in their sleep until they are told by their sleep partner or dentist. Over time, grinding teeth in sleep causes extensive damage to the structure and enamel of the teeth, which can lead to decay and increased sensitivity. It can also cause headaches, disrupt your sleep, and cause pain in the jaw, face, and neck.
Personality Type: Individuals who are naturally competitive, aggressive, or hyperactive are more likely to experience bruxism.
Intense Emotions: Many people unconsciously grind their teeth when under intense stress or when they feel angry or frustrated.
Certain Medications and Substances: Tobacco use, drinking caffeine or alcohol, and certain psychiatric medications can increase your risk of bruxism.
Other Health Conditions: Bruxism is often associated with other conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, sleep apnea, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
The process for getting a teeth protector for sleeping is simple and painless. The dentist takes an impression of your teeth. The impression is used to create
the mold that the lab will use to fabricate your night guard out of durable
plastic. Once finished, the dentist will check the guard to ensure that it fits
properly. Then all you have to do is wear the guard as you sleep. It may feel a
little odd at first, but most of our patients get used to wearing their night
guard quite quickly. The guard will not interfere with your breathing, and you
will still be able to speak normally. Most people who complain about their
mouth guard being uncomfortable are either wearing an over-the-counter
device or one that was not fitted properly.
Guarding Against the Grind: The Top Benefits of Wearing a Night Guard to Sleep.
Prevents Tooth Damage. A night guard ensures that your top teeth and
bottom teeth have no contact while you sleep.
Reduces Jaw Tension And Pain.
Provides Healthy Sleep Patterns.
Saves You Money
An oral night guard looks similar to the trays used for teeth whitening and sits over the teeth to protect them from grinding or clenching. The device may also be referred to as an occlusal splint, occlusal guard, or bite splint. A teeth protector for sleeping does not actually stop you from clenching or grinding your teeth; however, it does shield and cushion the teeth from excessive wear and helps re-establish the natural space between the upper and lower teeth.
Your dentist may recommend a night guard to help you with morning headaches, for TMJ jaw pain relief, and to prevent damage to your teeth, jaw, crowns, and other dental restorations.
Although a night guard is not the only treatment for bruxism or temporomandibular joint pain, it is an adordable, convenient, and non-invasive treatment option. A properly fitted night guard shifts the jaw and teeth into proper alignment, which can alleviate jaw tension, headaches, pain, and other symptoms of temporomandibular joint syndrome.
Ignoring your bruxism symptoms can lead to serious dental issues requiring
expensive treatments. For example, bruxism is a leading cause of root canals.
Individuals who grind their teeth can experience up to 2 millimeters of enamel erosion by their 20s, which increases the risk for cavities. Jaw clenching can subject the jaw and teeth to as much as 40 minutes of massive force per hour, which can set the stage for jaw and muscle pain.
Although it is possible to buy less expensive mouthguards online or at your local drug store, there are several reasons why it is worth the extra money to see a dental professional for a custom-fitted device:
A custom-fitted night guard will ensure that your jaw is in proper alignment, which can help with TMJ jaw pain relief.
A custom-fitted night guard will fit properly, which means that it will be
more comfortable and won’t fall out during the night.
Custom-fitted night guards are made from better materials than over-the-counter versions, so they typically last longer.