Night guards can help alleviate some of the symptoms of teeth grinding, like neck pain, earaches and jaw pain. These devices can also be effectively used to reduce sleep apnea.
The formal term for teeth grinding is bruxism. It is a condition that mostly occurs when a person is asleep. However, there are also those who grind their teeth while they are awake. One major issue that makes it hard to diagnose and treat bruxism is that most people who suffer from it are not even aware of their habit. That means a person can have it — and its symptoms — for years without even realizing it.
The reality is that bruxism should never be taken lightly. When left unaddressed, it can lead to a wide range of oral and health issues:
- Jaw pain
- Neck pain
- Chipped, fractured, broken or loose teeth
- Temporomandibular joint disorders
- Shoulder pain
When a person grinds their teeth, the jaw muscles become overworked. That is one of the reasons those dealing with bruxism often wake up with soreness around their face, jaw, teeth and neck. Those with severe cases of bruxism can damage their teeth until the pulp chamber is breached. This can easily lead to an infection if it is not quickly addressed.
Bruxism can also lead to receding gums, total loss of a tooth and a host of TMJ disorders.
How night guards can alleviate the effects of teeth grinding
There are a variety of things that can be done to help patients manage bruxism, but one of the best solutions is wearing a mouth guard at night.
These are mouthpieces that are worn before going to bed to minimize the damage caused by bruxism. Night guards can also help a patient break the habit completely. These devices reduce the strain on the patient's jaw muscles caused by grinding, which reduces the frequency of the symptoms experienced.
Getting a night guard to address teeth grinding is a straightforward process. It only involves a visit to the dentist's clinic. During the appointment, the dentist will take an impression of the patient's teeth. The dimensions are then sent to a lab where a customized mouth guard is created.
The dentist will inform the patient once the prosthetic is ready. Night guards are easy to use and work similarly to the ones used for sports. The patient simply inserts it into their mouth before going to bed. Instead of damaging teeth enamel and overworking the jaw muscles while they sleep, the mouth guard will absorb most of the pressure.
Teeth grinding can be a tough habit to overcome, particularly since the patient might not even be aware of their condition. However, those experiencing any of the symptoms above should contact a dentist immediately.
Not sure if you grind your teeth? Schedule an examination with one of our dentists today! Your jaw muscles will thank you later.
Call (760) 201-4085 today to reach Portola Dental Group.
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