Bruxism is excessive teeth grinding and jaw clenching. It may be a result of stress, a sleep disorder, an abnormal bite, or an abnormal tooth. Night guards are dental appliances worn over your teeth while you sleep to prevent teeth grinding and jaw clenching.
What’s actually happening is that your jaw muscles aren’t relaxing. You clench or grind your teeth subconsciously when you’re sleeping. You might do so while asleep and not even know you’re doing it. It can damage the enamel on your teeth and lead to other oral health problems, such as headaches, earaches, facial pain, and more.
What Causes Bruxism?
Bruxism, or teeth grinding and clenching, can be caused by various factors. Many people grind their teeth while sleeping, which can result in headaches, jaw pain, and other issues. However, some people also experience daytime bruxing as well. Stress and anxiety are common causes of bruxism. People tend to clench their jaws more when stressed or anxious. Certain medical conditions can also cause bruxism. This includes Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and cerebral palsy. In some cases, people may grind their teeth because they have an abnormal bite alignment. If left untreated, bruxism can lead to tooth damage and even tooth loss. This is why it’s important to treat the condition as soon as possible to prevent it from worsening. Your denturist may recommend using a custom night guard to prevent you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. These guards can be customized to fit your mouth and prevent further damage to your teeth. Wearing this guard at night can help to alleviate your symptoms and improve your quality of life.
In addition to preventing damage to your teeth, a night guard can also help prevent your jaw from becoming sore. Over time, the constant force exerted on your jaw joint can cause it to suffer from pain and tenderness. This can lead to problems with your temporomandibular joints (TMJs). The TMJs are located on both sides of your head and connect to your lower jaw to the temporal bone in your skull. They are responsible for allowing you to move your jaw up and down and side to side. Grinding your teeth can damage the cartilage that holds these joints together. This can result in clicking or popping noises when you open your mouth or chew. Severe cases of bruxism can even cause painful locking of the jaw that prevents you from opening it. A night guard can help prevent these symptoms from occurring.
Are Night Guards an Effective Treatment for Bruxism?
Yes, it is. In fact, a night guard is one of the most effective dental treatments for the management of teeth grinding and clenching. Idleness is a primary cause of bruxism, so patients are encouraged to keep themselves busy until the night guard treatment takes effect. Avoiding hard or chewy foods are also encouraged. This is because any of these activities could irritate the soft tissue inside your mouth and cause further discomfort.
It should be noted that a night guard is only effective if it is properly fitted by a denturist. If the patient does not have custom night guards made, he may experience some discomfort while wearing his over-the-counter device. This could result in him not wearing it at all, which will defeat the purpose of the treatment altogether. Custom-made devices are also more comfortable to wear throughout the night as compared to generic ones. They are also designed in such a way that they effectively move your jaw forward and prevent it from sliding to the sides. This helps to create a more stable bite which minimizes the risk of further damage to your teeth.
But if you do experience any pain or irritation after wearing your device at night, be sure to let your denturist know right away. He may need to make adjustments to the design of the device or make changes in the way you are wearing it in order for it to start working for you.
To learn more about good oral care, contact Summit Denture Clinic at 130 – 2881 Garden Street, Abbotsford, BC V2T 4X1, or call (604) 776-2881.