If you suffer from jaw pain or teeth sensitivity, you may be struggling with bruxism. This common condition will cause you to clench and grind your teeth habitually, though often unconsciously. As you do, you will strain your jaw joints, and put tremendous pressure on your teeth. At Value Dental Centers in Gilbert, AZ, we can treat bruxism with specially made night guards. By keeping your top and bottom teeth from touching, your appliance will prevent teeth grinding and subsequent dental damage. Your dentist and our partner lab will work with great precision. In this way, they can ensure that your night guard fits comfortably and securely.
What Causes Bruxism?
There are several different factors that may cause you to clench and grind your teeth.
- Stress is one of the most common reasons that you may develop bruxism. Grinding your teeth can help you manage levels of stress hormones, relieving your body of excess energy.
- Bite misalignment can also cause you to grind your teeth, since you naturally want your top and bottom teeth to line up properly. Missing teeth can have a similar effect.
- Alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and certain medications can disrupt your sleep, often leading to bruxism.
- Though not a direct cause, sleep apnea and bruxism are linked. Studies show that patients with OSA are more likely to grind their teeth.
The Symptoms of Bruxism
Just as there are many causes of teeth grinding, the condition also has a number of different symptoms. Signs of this condition include:
- Jaw pain
- Pain across your lower face
- Ear pain
- Tinnitus, or ringing in your ears
- Small cracks in your teeth
- Dental erosion
- Teeth sensitivity as your enamel wears away and exposes tiny nerve endings
How Night Guards Can Treat Bruxism
Night guards are a simple but highly effective way to stop teeth grinding. The device will form a barrier between your top and bottom teeth to keep them from touching. It will also cushion your teeth, reducing the inflammation that can occur when you clench your jaw. Your night guard will be crafted from impressions of your teeth. It can be made from many different materials, including rubber and acrylic. With our attention to detail and advanced materials, your device will be quite comfortable. Like most patients, you should get used to wearing it in just a few nights.
In some cases, we may recommend other treatments for bruxism, sometimes in conjunction with a night guard. For example, if you have misaligned teeth, you may benefit from orthodontic care. We offer Invisalign®, and we can also refer you to an orthodontist if you have particularly severe malocclusion. In other situations, we can provide dental restorations, such as a traditional or implant-supported bridge.
Why It Is Important to Treat Bruxism
Bruxism may help to regular stress and chemical imbalance. However, it also has a number of serious consequences for your oral health. The constant force on your teeth can cause tiny cracks, which may grow larger over time. The cracks can weaken your teeth, and you may eventually require root canal therapy or other more extensive treatment. In addition, grinding and clenching can lead to severe tooth erosion. As your protective enamel wears away, it will expose the softer layer of dentin. Because this tissue is more porous than enamel, you will face a much higher risk for cavities.
Bruxism treatment can also help to prevent TMJ Disorder. Without appropriate care, the constant strain could inflame the muscles and ligaments near your jaw. The joints themselves could also become damaged. For example, the cartilage could wear away, or the inner discs could slip out of place.
Fortunately, when you wear your night guard as directed, you can prevent these conditions and enjoy lasting oral health.
Contact Us for More Information
Are you suffering from the symptoms of bruxism? Contact our office to schedule a consultation and find out the most appropriate treatment for you.