Night guards are custom-fitted oral appliances to wear while you sleep. The team at Red Bank Smiles may recommend them to treat a variety of conditions, like bruxism (clenching or grinding) and apnea. Treatment for apnea is the best option when grinding due to apnea. Night guards are best used for clenching, which is a central nervous system-mediated response to stress. However, some people grind because they have a bite discrepancy, and the jaws are trying to get the teeth to fit together comfortably. The habit of grinding or clenching your teeth can wear down the enamel and cause long-term dental issues.
Symptoms of Bruxism
Because tooth grinding typically occurs while sleeping, some people don’t even realize they’re doing it, especially if they only have a mild form of the condition. If you suspect you might have bruxism, here are some common symptoms to look for.
- Audible teeth grinding or clenching at night, which may be loud enough for the people around you to notice
- Waking up with headaches, earaches, toothaches or facial pain
- Sore or tight jaw muscles
- Disrupted sleep
- Increased tooth pain or sensitivity to changes in temperature and pressure
At your appointment, your dentist can detect additional signs of tooth grinding or clenching. These may include:
- Unusual wear spots on the teeth
- Flattened, fractured, chipped, cracked, or loose teeth
- Damaged tooth restorations
- Damage to the temporomandibular joints
What Causes Dental Grinding?
While doctors don’t know the causes of bruxism, they have identified several contributing factors. For example, tooth grinding is sometimes a response to stress or anxiety. Sleep conditions and certain other disorders may increase a person’s chance of developing bruxism, as well. In addition, an abnormal bite and crooked or missing teeth have also been linked to tooth grinding and clenching.
The causes of bruxism are a little bit different for children. Commonly, kids start grinding their teeth due to allergies, illness, or tooth misalignment. Because children’s teeth change so frequently, bruxism doesn’t usually lead to long-term damage.
Contact Red Bank Smiles
If you’re experiencing tooth grinding, your dentist may recommend a custom-made night guard. The device will go over your teeth while you sleep to help prevent them from grinding against each other. Protective dental grinding devices can help you get a better night’s sleep, reduce your pain, and keep your teeth healthy.
Think you might benefit from a night guard? Schedule an appointment at Red Bank Smiles. The team at Red Bank Smiles has extensive experience diagnosing and treating advanced cases of bruxism and long-term tooth damage. Call Heidi at 732-741-1052 to make an appointment today.