What You Need to Know About a Night Guard
People who grind their teeth when sleeping can benefit from wearing a night guard. These oral appliances can help to prevent the jaw pain, chronic headaches and damage to teeth that can occur as a result of teeth grinding.
How a night guard helps with teeth grinding
Formerly termed bruxism, teeth grinding occurs when a person moves their jaw back and forth during sleep. Teeth clenching occurs when a person bites down with excessive force for prolonged periods. Bruxism is a common condition and it typically occurs when a person is stressed out or while they sleep. Most people who grind their teeth have no idea about it until a dentist or someone that shares a room with the person informs them.
Over time, teeth grinding can lead to extensive damage to the teeth enamel and their structures. This leaves teeth more vulnerable to decay and it can lead to increased sensitivity to hot and cold foods/beverages. Bruxism can also lead to disruptions to a person's sleep. Additionally, jaw and neck pain can be a result. Wearing a night guard when going to sleep helps to protect teeth from the excessive bite forces caused by grinding.
Some of the major risk factors for teeth grinding include:
- Age: Children are more likely to develop bruxism than adults
- Personality type: People who have aggressive or hyperactive personality types are more likely to grind their teeth
- Intense emotions: A large number of people grind their teeth when frustrated, angry, or stressed out
- Medications: Substances like the nicotine in tobacco, caffeine, and some psychiatric medications can increase the risk of bruxism
Getting a customized night guard
The night guards used to deal with bruxism are a lot like the trays used for teeth whitening treatments. These devices are also known as bite splints, occlusal guards or occlusal splints. The device does not stop the patient from grinding their teeth, but it does cushion them against the bite forces and friction generated when grinding teeth. This helps to prevent the excessive wear that often develops on the teeth of people with bruxism.
The appliance sits on teeth when worn, and it helps to re-establish the proper spacing between a person's lower and upper set of teeth.
A night guard can also help those who deal with the headaches caused by teeth grinding, it reduces the stress on the temporomandibular joints, and it protects oral restorations on the patient's teeth. The TMJs are the joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull. Damage to these joints often leads to issues like difficulty opening the mouth, ear pain and headaches.
Wearing a night guard before going to bed is a non-invasive, affordable way to manage the damage caused by bruxism while treating the underlying cause.
Get your customized night guard
When suffering from teeth grinding or jaw clenching, it may be worth considering a night guard. Call or visit our Coral Gables clinic to start the process.
Request an appointment here: https://www.gablesexceptionaldentistry.com or call Gables Exceptional Dentistry at (305) 203-4132 for an appointment in our Coral Gables office.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Night Guard in Coral Gables, FL.
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