NIGHTGUARDS FOR BRUXISM (TEETH GRINDING)
Bruxism (teeth grinding) is the involuntary grinding or clenching of the teeth. This is a subconscious behavior done mainly while one sleeps. Often people are unaware that they have developed this habit until damage to the mouth and teeth is done. A custom fitted hard orthotic appliance, also called a Nightguard, can be made to be worn to absorb the force of biting, helping to prevent future damage to the teeth. This appliance is designed to the shape of your upper or lower teeth, and when worn minimizes the abrasion of your tooth’s surfaces and existing dental work, reducing the condition, called bruxism.
Bruxism and clenching can generate tremendous force on the teeth causing broken teeth, wear of the biting surface, abfractions (notches at the gum line), loose fillings, and cracks in the teeth. Bruxing can also cause teeth to become more sensitive to hot and cold foods, and liquids. In most people, bruxism is mild enough not to be a health problem; however, some people suffer from significant bruxism that can later become a problem. Damage caused by bruxism can be irreversible and often includes the below symptoms; however, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include one or all of the following:
- Abraded/worn teeth
- Facial pain
- Oversensitive teeth
- Tense facial and jaw muscles
- Dislocation of the jaw
- Damage to the tooth enamel, exposing the inside of the tooth (dentin)
- A popping or a clicking in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
- Tongue indentations
- Damage to the inside of the cheek
- Over closure
- Breaking of fillings and crowns
What Causes Bruxism?
Causes vary, but may include stress, anxiety, tension, misaligned teeth, posture, diet, sleeping habits, genetics, and other factors. Although this habit is unintentional more often than not, the leading cause of teeth grinding is stress. Everyday stress and tensions from our fast pace lifestyles are the leading causes of teeth grinding.
How do I know if I grind?
Most of us do not know we are grinding our teeth and have no symptoms such as jaw pain or headaches. Many times it is your dentist or hygienist that will first see the wear on your teeth and inform you about your grinding. Many times it is your sleep partner that tells you after being kept awake by your grinding. Some other signs are sore facial muscles, morning headaches and neck and ear pain. Given enough time, dental damage will typically occur. About one in three people suffers from bruxism, which in most cases can be successfully treated. The symptoms of bruxism may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Consult your dentist or a physician for a diagnosis.
How is Bruxism Diagnosed?
During regular visits to the dentist, the teeth are examined for evidence of
bruxism — often indicated by the tips of the teeth appearing flat. If symptoms are present, the condition may be observed for changes over the next several visits before a treatment is recommended. In our office, we frequently take impressions and photographs to monitor damage rates.
Custom designed mouthguards are made of flexible plastic and molded to fit the shape of your teeth. Mouthguards are recommended to protect the jaw and teeth during physical activity and sports such as boxing, football, basketball, or other activities where your mouth may get hit. In addition, these guards protect the soft tissues of your tongue, lips and cheek lining.
Call us today to schedule your appointment: (817) 465-0355.