If you often wake up with jaw pain, earaches, or headaches, or if you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, you may have a common condition called bruxism.
Although the causes of bruxism are not really known, several factors may be involved. Stressful situations at home, school, or work, problems in sleeping, an abnormal bite, and crooked or missing teeth may contribute to bruxism. Many people do not even know that they grind their teeth, as it often occurs when one is sleeping. If not corrected, bruxism can lead to broken teeth, cracked teeth, damaged restorations, or even tooth loss.
There is an easy, non-invasive treatment for bruxism: nightguards. Nightguards are an easy way to prevent the wear and damage that teeth-grinding cause over time. Custom-made by your dentist from “semi-hard” material to fit your teeth, a nightguard is inserted over your top or bottom arch and prevents contact with the opposing teeth.
Choosing the right guard is essential. A “boil and bite” guard may separate and protect the teeth from wear but they are not intended for long-term usage. This type of guard may lead to TMJ problems and muscle soreness. A custom made “semi-hard” guard is recommended for long term usage. These guards can be design to provide an even and balance bite and protect the joints and relax the muscles. These nightguards should be brought in at each hygiene appointment for observation and adjustments as required.