If you have night bruxism, a night guard may be able to help reduce your symptoms. Bruxism is the grinding or clenching of teeth. A lot of people experience sleep bruxism, which refers to the unconscious clenching or grinding of teeth while sleeping.
Causes of Bruxism
There is no single cause of bruxism but rather a collection of risk factors that play a role in the development of the condition. Bruxism during the day can be caused by high levels of stress, anxiety, or tension. It can also develop in a person who goes deep in concentration or thought and uses a physical outlet to release tension or stress (similar to clenching a fist when angry). When these things happen, some people use teeth grinding or clenching as a way to let out stored energy. Once bruxism is used as an outlet mechanism or coping strategy, it becomes a habit. Bruxism is common among athletes and individuals who have stressful lifestyles.
Sleep bruxism can be caused by these factors as well as sleep-related chewing. Individuals who experience bruxism notice the condition early on. However, people who experience sleep bruxism may take longer to notice the condition.
One symptom of bruxism is a loud grinding noise noticed by a sleeping partner. Other symptoms include chipped or loose teeth, tooth pain, a tight or painful jaw, soreness in the face or jaw, earaches, or headaches. Not every person with bruxism will have the same set of symptoms.
How Does a Night Guard Help with Bruxism?
Night guards relieve sleep bruxism by reducing the amount of pressure you put on your teeth and preventing grinding. A night guard is a piece of plastic worn in the mouth to protect the teeth from pressure put on them because of grinding or clenching. Night guards fit in the mouth similar to a retainer and are designed to decrease the tension produced by the muscles in the jaw by preventing you from clenching or grinding your teeth enough to damage your teeth.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), night guards have helped in lowering the number of dentofacial injuries among athletes when used during play. While athletes use mouth guards during the day because of the sports they play, most people in other professions use night guards for sleep bruxism.
Customized Night Guards
There are a variety of night guards available to you based on your needs. You can buy night guards that come in different thicknesses, materials, comfort levels, and prices. A customized night guard is the best kind of night guard for most patients. A cookie-cutter night guard may be uncomfortable. A customized night guard takes into account the size of your mouth and teeth, your comfort preferences as well as your budget. Talk to your insurance company and dentist about the type of night guards your insurance policy covers.
If you are experiencing symptoms related to sleep bruxism, it’s time to see a dentist before you experience significant symptoms and damage your teeth. The experts at Hagerman Dental Care have a lot of experience treating conditions like sleep bruxism and would love to help diagnose and treat you. Call (651) 646-2392 to make an appointment today. You can also request an appointment online.