Do you experience headaches, jaw pain, or toothaches after waking up? You might be suffering from tooth grinding or clenching; a dental condition called bruxism. Fortunately, you’re not alone. Bruxism is the act of tooth grinding or clenching. Grinding is the process of moving the jaw back and forth. On the other hand, clenching involves biting down with excessive force for extended periods.
Commonly, teeth grinding or bruxism happens unconsciously, and multiple factors cause them. Most people might not even know they have this problem until told by their dentist or sleep partners tell them. Over time, teeth clenching and grinding can cause sleep problems and extensive tooth damage, such as tooth decay, pain, and sensitivity. It can also cause headaches and pain in the neck, face, or jaw.
While the following symptoms don’t always mean that you are grinding your teeth, they could be a sign. You should consult your dentist for a proper diagnosis.
In most cases, the effects of mild teeth grinding might not cause any serious concerns. However, severe teeth clenching and grinding can cause:
Risk factors for teeth grinding include:
Since the exact cause of bruxism isn’t clear (could be mental, physical, or genetic), there are no detailed treatment options. Standard treatment options include:
To prevent the effects of sleep bruxism, you should consider getting a night guard. Wearing a nightguard reduces the problem of grinding your teeth against each other, thus preventing teeth damage and jawbone muscle strains. Nightguards are available in a drugstore near you, or you can get them from your dentist. With over-the-counter nightguards, you have two options – stock nightguards or boil and bite nightguards.
Stock guards are generic. Finding a perfect fit might be difficult, making them look unattractive, poorly fitting, and can cause breath and speech difficulties. On the positive side, they are readily available and inexpensive. Boil and bite guards are ready-made but are customized by boiling and biting down on them.
The last and most effective option is to get a customized nightguard from your dentist. The dentist takes impressions of your mouth and makes a custom-fitted nightguard. The night guard fits well without causing any discomfort or affecting your breathing or speech. On the downside, this option can be the most expensive. But considering the benefits, it’s well worth it.
How long your nightguard will last can depend on several factors, including:
Are you interested in night guard services, or would you like to learn more about night guard procedures? Contact Lexington Dental Group today to book your appointment.