Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a condition characterized by dull headaches, tooth pain, and a sore jaw in the morning. This condition affects about 20 percent of American adults, according to the American Dental Association. Additionally, night grinding is commonly linked to poor sleep quality. Bruxism can lead to tooth damage, which can in turn lead to tooth extractions.
To prevent the symptoms associated with bruxism, our restorative dentist at Greenwood Dental Care can help fit you with a night guard. This will help relieve headaches and jaw pain and improve your overall oral health. Additionally, an examination at our Lake County, Illinois dentistry practice can help determine the treatment to repair any damage from untreated bruxism.
What Are Night Guards?
Night guards are appliances worn during the night or while sleeping to alleviate tooth grinding. A consultation with a dentist for a night guard means that your appliance will be professionally fitted to provide the most comfort while you sleep.
For a more comfortable and better-fitting night guard, your dentist will provide a device made with the patient’s mouth impression. In this process, a laboratory will create the night guard from the impression of the patient’s teeth. Consultation with your dentist will ensure that your night guard is comfortable and effective. As time goes on, adjustments are available to cater for malocclusion shifts or changes in the alignment of your teeth.
What is Bruxism?
Simply put, bruxism refers to the grinding of the teeth. Untreated, and without the use of a night guard, there is a chance that bruxism can lead to teeth chipping and cracking. Additionally, constant grinding can lead to pain in the neck, upper back, and spine.
Signs that you can use to identify bruxism include:
- Loud tooth grinding or jaw clenching, especially that which is loud enough to wake the person’s sleep partner
- Damaged teeth, including chipping, flattening, fracturing, or loosening
- Wear in the enamel of the tooth. Enamel, the outer coating of the tooth, can wear away to reveal the more sensitive inner layers
- Extreme pain and lots of sensitivity in the teeth
- Chronic jaw soreness, including locked jaw symptoms. The soreness can also lead to the inability to completely open or close the mouth
- Neck and face pain characterized by what feels like an earache
- Chronic dull headaches that begin at the temples and slowly move inward
- Cuts and sores from biting the inner cheek
Is a Night Guard Right for Me?
During routine dental exams and dental cleanings, your dentists will look for signs of teeth grinding or bruxism. Where the condition is either detected or reported, there are follow up appointments to check for progression through:
- Extensive tooth damage, which may include missing or cracked teeth
- Extreme or acute tenderness and pain in the jaw
- Damage to cheek muscles and the bones inside the mouth
In order to prevent further harm to your mouth, a dentist may recommend a change of diet, such as eliminating caffeine before going to sleep. Additionally, stress can play a huge factor in nighttime teeth grinding and jaw clenching. So a dentist may recommend doing something relaxing before dozing off.
What’s the Next Step?
At Greenwood Dental Care, we specialize in helping you manage and treat night grinding or bruxism. Also, we employ night guards in Lake County to help patients overcome the symptoms associated with bruxism.
Additionally, we offer general and family dentistry services, including:
- Dental bonding
- Dental crowns
- All on 4 dental implants
- Periodontal therapy
- Occlusal adjustment
Call Greenwood Dental Care at 855.528.3961 to speak with a dental specialist who can help you counter teeth grinding with a customized night guard.