How to Know if You Need a Night Guard

How to Know if You Need a Night Guard

Jan 19, 2023

Do you often wake up with jaw pain or headaches? Chances are you have bruxism. Bruxism is when someone unconsciously grinds or clenches their jaw and teeth. Grinding means moving your jaw back and forth, while clenching means biting down with excessive force over a long period.

While it can happen when awake, bruxism is more common at night when sleeping. For this reason, many people might not know they have the condition until they notice tooth damage or their dentist or sleep partners tell them.

The symptoms of bruxism can range from mild to severe. In chronic bruxism, teeth grinding can lead to enamel erosion, tooth fractures, tooth decay, and even tooth loss. It can also cause sleep deprivation, headaches, pain in the teeth, jaw, face, and neck, and cause TMJ disorders.

Causes of Bruxism

Physical, psychological, and genetic factors can cause bruxism. While the exact cause of bruxism might be hard to establish, the following factors can increase your risks of grinding your teeth:

  • Lifestyle habits like taking coffee, smoking, and drinking alcohol, especially before bed
  • Sleep disorders like sleep apnea
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Hereditary factors
  • Certain medications like antidepressants
  • Excess body weight

Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism

Common symptoms of bruxism to watch out for include:

  • Chipped, flattened, loose, or fractured teeth
  • Worn tooth enamel that exposes deeper layers of the tooth
  • Jaw, face, ear, and neck pain or soreness
  • Tooth pain or sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Sleep disruption
  • Stiff or tight jaw muscles
  • Locked jaw
  • Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
  • Morning headaches
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Pain when chewing

Visit our dentist near you as soon as possible if you have these symptoms or other concerns about your teeth or jaw. Similarly, notify your sleep partner if you notice they have these symptoms. Seek pediatric care if your child has bruxism.

How Can Bruxism be Treated?

With Teeth grinding treatment, you can use consecutive methods to reduce or manage teeth grinding. These include:

  • Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption, especially before bed.
  • Limit caffeine intake, especially a few hours before bed.
  • Use relaxation techniques to manage stress, like meditating, taking a hot bath, yoga, and listening to soft music.
  • Perform jaw exercises to reduce jaw tension.
  • Exercise to maintain a healthy weight.

Can I Use a Night Guard for Bruxism?

If you grind your teeth regularly, you have a question: How to stop teeth grinding at night? You can get a night guard for bruxism. A night guard works like a sports guard. You wear the guard on the upper or lower teeth, preventing them from clenching or grinding against each other. It also helps align your bite properly, preventing bruxism.

A night guard can also be called a bite splint, occlusal splint, and occlusal guard. While the device won’t cure bruxism, it protects your teeth and dental restorations from damage. It also prevents associated symptoms like jaw, head, or face discomfort. You will continue to clench and grind your teeth when you stop wearing the guard.

Can a Night Guard Help with Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome?

Temporomandibular joints are the joints that connect your lower jaw to the skull. Temporomandibular joints syndrome affects how the jaw joints and muscles function, leading to unpleasant symptoms like:

  • Jaw pain or soreness
  • Pain in the face, jaw, neck, shoulder, and ear
  • A popping or clicking sound when closing or opening the mouth
  • Difficulty opening the mouth wide
  • Difficulty or pain when chewing
  • Locked jaw
  • Swelling on the jaw or face
  • Uncomfortable bite

Like bruxism, wearing a mouth guard can help manage the symptoms of TMJ. For instance, it provides proper teeth alignment, releasing jaw tension and preventing pain, headaches, and other symptoms of TMJ.

Getting a Nightguard for teeth grinding

Bruxism or TMJ can lead to tooth loss, jaw disorders, and other serious that require complex and expensive treatments. While it’s possible to get a cheaper night guard online or at a local store, it’s best to get a custom guard from your dentist.

Unlike generic guards, custom night guards are designed based on your dental structure. Therefore, they fit snugly against the teeth without causing any discomfort or difficulty breathing. Generic guards tend to be uncomfortable, which can worsen your situation.

Similarly, custom guards ensure the jaw is properly aligned, reducing bruxism, sleep apnea, and TMJ symptoms.

Custom night guards contain more high-quality materials than generic guards. It ensures maximum comfort, and they typically last longer.

Schedule an Appointment Today with our dentist in Lexington, MA

Are you interested in night guards in Lexington, MA? Contact our dentist at Lexington Dental Group.

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