Night guards will protect your teeth from nighttime clenching and grinding, which can lead to a multitude of problems.
Some people grind or clench their teeth while they sleep, making them unaware of the habit. They may wake up with a sore jaw, headache, or a broken tooth without knowing the cause.
Some people even grind their teeth while awake as a nervous habit, and may not even realize they’re doing it.
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, can have serious side effects. Call our office if you have any of these symptoms of bruxism:
- You (or your sleep partner) are woken from your teeth grinding or clenching
- Teeth are fractured, chipped or become loose
- Tooth enamel is worn down
- You have increased tooth pain or sensitivity
- Jaw muscles feel tight, or the jaw locks up or won’t open or close completely
- You have pain in the jaw, neck, face or ears
- You get dull headaches, often in the temples
Causes of Bruxism
Medical professionals believe teeth grinding is a result of combined physical, psychological, and genetic factors:
- Anxiety, stress, anger or tension
- Deep dreaming and other sleep stimulations
- Certain medications, or substances such as caffeine and alcohol
- Medical conditions such as Parkinson’s, dementia and other diseases
- Genetics: Bruxism commonly runs in families
- In children, causes of bruxism most commonly include oral irritation, allergies, and teeth that need realigning.
Both adults and children who grind their teeth need dental attention. If left unchecked, affected teeth can loosen and fall out. For children, a check-up by Dr. Neff and the child’s pediatrician can usually result in corrective solutions. For adults, a mouth guard worn nightly is the first line of defense.
What is a night guard?
A night guard is a type of mouthguard specifically designed to treat bruxism. It fits over your teeth and prevents them from grinding and clenching during sleep. We’ll create your custom-made right in our office to protect your smile and alleviate the painful symptoms of bruxism.
While night guards look similar to mouthguards that are used for sports, they are made explicitly for nighttime wear. Typically, a night guard is slightly thinner than athletic guards and is custom-fitted to your teeth to ensure much more comfort when wearing them while sleeping.
Night guards are easy to use and take care of:
- Rinse before and after each use or brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste
- Occasionally clean the night guard in cool, soapy water and rinse thoroughly
- Transport the night guard in a sturdy container that has vents
- Don’t leave the night guard in the sun or hot water
- Check for wear and bring your night guard to your dental appointments
Other bruxism treatment
Adults can benefit from relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga, and exercise. Cutting down on caffeine or alcohol might also help.