Do you often wake up with a headache or an ache in your jaw? Those are symptoms of a disorder called bruxism. Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding or clenching, and you may be surprised to learn that as many as 30% of adults have this disorder.
Although bruxism can occur during the day, it’s most often a sleep disorder, and it can be caused by several things. You may never know what brought on your bruxism, but some common causes are:
- Poorly aligned teeth
- Some medications
- Sleep apnea
In some cases, addressing the underlying cause of your bruxism may be enough. For example, if you have sleep apnea, resolving it is likely to stop your bruxism. However, grinding your teeth even for a short time can cause damage.
The danger to your teeth
Your teeth are strong. In fact, enamel, the outer layer of your teeth, is stronger than anything else in your body. However, bruxism has an effect.
All teeth naturally wear down over time, but grinding your teeth creates much more wear than would otherwise occur. Wearing down your enamel leaves your teeth more vulnerable to decay and infection.
If you have fillings, grinding your teeth could dislodge or break the filling. It’s even possible to crack a tooth because of bruxism.
You may also experience a temporomandibular disorder (TMD), which is a problem with the bones of your jaw, as a result of bruxism.
How a night guard can help
You can wear a mouth guard at night that allows your teeth to glide over each other rather than grinding together. This offers protection against wear and tear on the enamel as well as protecting any restorative or cosmetic dental work you’ve had done.
There are several different types of mouthguards, and they differ in both quality and comfort. You are probably familiar with mouth guards designed for sports; you can even find simple types available over-the-counter.
A professional, custom night guard is made specifically for your mouth. It offers both protection and comfort.
Made to fit you
If your dentist has suggested a night guard for you, our staff takes an impression of your mouth. Your night guard is made based on that impression, so it’s custom-designed to fit you perfectly.
The material used to make your night guard prevents your teeth from contacting each other through clenching and grinding, helping you avoid damage. You may find the night guard more comfortable than you expect. Plus, if you have fewer headaches, less jaw pain, and your teeth are protected, you’ll probably be very happy to wear it.
If you suspect you may have bruxism, book an appointment with one of the dentists at Volterra Dental today. They are happy to examine your teeth for signs of teeth grinding and suggest an appropriate treatment plan based on your medical history and an examination of your teeth.
Scheduling is easy. Simply call our office in Los Alamitos, California at (562) 501-3188.