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Night Guards for Bruxism and TMJ/TMD

The problem with grinding and clenching your teeth at night is that you likely don’t know you are doing it. Over time, though, you’ll start to feel the effects of bruxism (teeth grinding). Around 30 to 40 million adults and children suffer from bruxism in the United States alone. This equals somewhere around 10 to 15 percent. That’s a very large number of people!

Below is more information about bruxism, TMJ, and how to alleviate the pain and address these issues.

Bruxism and TMJ

Teeth clenching and grinding at night (also known as bruxism) is a difficult oral health problem to diagnose, as you are asleep while it is happening. With that said, there are side effects that you will notice during the day. You may experience jaw or tooth pain when waking up. You also may wake up with headaches. What’s worse is you may end up wearing down or even fracturing your teeth. Some patients even experience hearing loss!

If the issue gets bad enough, it may lead to TMJ. This stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. TMJ can lead to issues like lockjaw, swelling, pain, trouble chewing, jaw fatigue, and more. The pain may even spread to your neck and shoulders. You may experience loosening of teeth over time. This will lead to costly repairs.

In order to avoid bruxism, there are a few things that you can try. Do not chew on non-food items like pens and pencils. You should avoid alcohol late at night, as well as caffeine. A lot of the time bruxism is triggered by stress and anxiety. Try meditation practices, yoga, and exercise. If you have ongoing stress, consider therapy.

A Night Guard for Bruxism

Once you find out that you have bruxism, you’ll want to start treating it immediately. Remember, the side effects can progress over time and damage your teeth and jaw. The easiest way to treat bruxism is with a night guard. While you can look for night guards specifically for bruxism, really any form of mouthguard will do. This means you can simply go to a department store or sports store to find one. Just make sure you don’t use one that is too bulky. You can also reach out to Oxboro Dental about a night guard. We will be able to fabricate a custom mouthguard using an impression of your teeth. This is an excellent option for optimal comfort. You’ll want to visit your dentist with jaw pain anyway. If they notice worn down teeth or other signs of bruxism, you can ask about a mouthguard.

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The Benefits of a Night Guard

A custom mouth guard for bruxism will help to relax your jaw and position it properly during sleep. You’ll experience less pressure on your jaw and teeth, which will help to avoid damage, pain, headaches, and other negative side effects that come with grinding and clenching of the teeth at night. You may even avoid snoring, as you’ll be able to breathe better while you are sleeping.

With the damage that is caused over time, costly repairs will be required to fix these issues. You may experience chipped teeth, damage to your fillings, wear, and damage to your crowns. You may even damage and remove the enamel of your teeth due to grinding.

In order to avoid veneers, dental crowns, and other restorative measures, you’ll want to purchase a mouthguard. You don’t even have to wait for your appointment with your dentist! You can always purchase a temporary mouthguard to wear until your dentist can make you a custom one. The one you purchase over-the-counter may do the trick on its own and resolve your grinding and clenching issues. Still, you’ll want to set an appointment with your dentist to ensure no permanent damage has been done and so they can address any damage caused by the bruxism.

Schedule an Oral Exam with Your Dentist

Schedule an oral exam with Oxboro Dental today if you are experiencing pain, pressure, headaches, or other issues. We can take a look and see if there are signs of bruxism. From there, we can address the issue.

On top of visits due to pain and other issues, you’ll want to schedule an appointment for every six months for a checkup and cleaning. Your hygienist will clean your teeth, perform x-rays, and check for signs of damage and decay. They may actually notice symptoms of bruxism before you do! This will allow them to catch the illness early and provide you with a nightguard before you experience more severe pain and damage.

Whether the issue is due to stress, caffeine, alcohol, or any other trigger, you’ll want to consider the reason behind your bruxism so you can properly address it. While a night guard is a great way to treat the symptoms, it doesn’t fix the underlying issue. Consider what may be leading to your bruxism and address that. Over time, your clenching and grinding may stop. Once this is the case, you can sleep without a mouth guard again. Check with your dentist before you stop the use of your night guard, though. You want to be sure that you won’t begin grinding and clenching again.

As always, to encourage good oral health overall, brush, floss, and rinse twice a day every day. Also, get your next appointment in the books for a cleaning and checkup if you don’t already have one. We’d be happy to schedule you.

If you have any questions about bruxism and/or you believe you may be suffering from nighttime teeth grinding and clenching, reach out to Oxboro Dental. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have and schedule an appointment for your dentist to perform an oral exam. From there, they can determine if you are suffering from bruxism and can create a custom mouthguard to resolve the symptoms and prevent damage to your teeth and jaw.