Bruxism, most often simply referred to as teeth grinding, is a fairly common condition. It can lead to discomfort and damage to teeth. A nighttime mouthguard can offer protection for those who grind and clench their teeth while they are asleep. At Atlantic Dentistry we see many of the signs of bruxism in our patients, including damage to the teeth.
Learning About Bruxism
Many who grind their teeth in their sleep are not even aware that they are doing it. It often takes a partner hearing them doing it or our dentist pointing out some of the symptoms seen during an examination.
Some of the symptoms that can be seen in teeth could include uneven wearing, cracks or broken teeth, the loss of enamel, and in some cases the loss of one or more teeth. Patients also often wake up with a dull headache accompanied by pain in the jaw or face.
Teeth grinding that only happens occasionally may not lead to any real concerns. However, long-term bruxism can be very troublesome for the health of your teeth. The cause of bruxism is not truly known, but many do believe that high levels of anxiety and stress can play a role.
How Night Guards Work
The majority of bruxism cases can be treated with a night guard worn while you sleep. also referred to as dental guards, these dental appliances work by placing a padded barrier between your teeth. When your jaw is clenched in your sleep, the night guard will help to relieve some of the tension and provide cushion to the jaw muscles. This helps to not only prevent discomfort in the jaw and face, but it will protect the enamel on your teeth. Night guards look quite similar to oral appliances worn to address snoring.
Types of Night Guards
A mouthguard worn to address bruxism can be purchased over the counter, or you can get a custom-fit appliance through our dentists. Over-the-counter solutions may work well for some but getting your mouthguard custom fit to your teeth will offer you superior protection.
There are options that are preformed and ready to be worn right out of the box. They will not give you the comfort and fit that a custom solution will. Boil and bite mouthguards are another option to consider. The preformed appliance is heated with boiled water, softening it. You will then bite down on the plastic to get a fit for your teeth.
Over-the-counter options may be quicker and easier, but they will not give you the comfort and fit that you would get from a prescribed mouthguard. A visit to our office will be your first step. Impressions will be taken of your teeth. These impressions will be sent to the laboratory so that a mouthguard can be made to fit.
Replacing Your Mouthguard
Taking good care of your mouthguard will help to keep it in good shape for a much longer amount of time. Some can last for as long as five years. It is important that you keep up with your regular checkups and professional cleanings so that your condition can be monitored. If the discomfort you felt before getting your mouthguard returns, it could be that it is time to get a new guard. If there are any signs of damage to the mouthguard, be sure to replace it as soon as you are able.
Schedule your consultation for a mouthguard with our dentist at Atlantic Dentistry.
Mon-Thurs 8:30AM–7PM Fri 8:30AM–5PM Sat: By Appointment
13920 Old St Augustine Rd, Suite 103 Jacksonville, Fl 32258-5561