Do you wake up with a sore jaw frequently? How about a dull headache or pain in your teeth? These are possible signs that you may be grinding your teeth, a condition referred to as bruxism. This condition affects approximately 10 to 15 percent of adults.
People who grind their teeth may be aware of it or may not be aware, especially if it happens during sleep. Some people grind or clench their teeth when stressed or anxious, sometimes without realizing it.
There are numerous ways to help treat the effects of bruxism. A dental night guard is the most common option.
What is a night guard?
This is a dental appliance that is usually worn during sleep at night. It can be bought over the counter or may be custom made to fit your mouth. For the best results, it is better to get the night guard from your dental office to ensure a proper fit and maximum effectiveness. Night guards from your dental office tend to be of higher quality as well and more comfortable to wear due to the precise fit.
The purpose of the night guard is to prevent the top and bottom surfaces of your teeth from grinding against each together. This constant grinding and/or clenching can cause your teeth to chip and crack. You may also experience jaw pain due to muscle strain from constant grinding and clenching.
What causes teeth grinding or clenching?
Teeth grinding may be caused by stress, anxiousness, certain sleep disorders, an uneven bite, crooked or misaligned teeth.
If some of the other underlying issues can be solved, a night guard may not always be needed.
- Straight Teeth: Teeth that are crooked or misaligned, can lead to teeth grinding. Straightening these teeth may prevent teeth grinding.
- Stress Management: Proper management of stress and anxiety can also help with reducing teeth grinding. Practicing relaxation techniques or seeking advice from professional counseling for stress management can help.
- Dietary Changes: Avoiding stimulants like caffeine can also reduce teeth grinding. Certain medicines like antidepressants can also lead to teeth grinding, so make sure you let your dental professional know of all medications that you are taking.
If you suffer from any of the above symptoms or think you are a candidate for a night guard, contact us to set up a complimentary consultation.