Night Guards for Teeth Grinding
Grinding your teeth during the day or at night while sleeping is a common unconscious reaction to stress. Unfortunately, this constant pressure on your teeth can harm them. It can also cause damage to the tissues and muscles surrounding your jaw. The technical name for this condition is bruxism. While it sounds serious, it can easily be corrected by wearing a night guard.
More About the Cause and Effects of Bruxism
When you have bruxism, you may quickly develop earaches, headaches, or a sore jaw in responses to it. Stress is the most common cause of bruxism, but you may also engage in it due to poor sleeping habits, an unhealthy diet, misalignment of the teeth, anxiety, and several other causes. Up to one-third of the population struggles with bruxism and women develop it more often than men do.
People who have unhealthy responses to stress tend to struggle with bruxism more than those who have developed more effective coping methods. It is common for patients with this condition to also have other habits involving unproductive biting. Some of these include biting the insides of their cheeks, chewing on pencils, and frequently chewing their fingernails.
When you constantly grind and clench your teeth, it may lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) in addition to bruxism. TMJ can cause significant pain in your neck and head. Rubbing your teeth together all of the time eventually causes them to wear down, leading to additional dental problems that require treatment. It is also important to realize that untreated bruxism can lead to depression, eating problems, and insomnia.
Night Guards Are an Ideal Solution
It is hard to stop a habit that you are unaware of having in the first place. Dr. Kuipers can let you know if you have bruxism after evaluating your teeth as well as the muscles and tissues in your mouth. We have several different types of night guards available to treat this problem. If you try multiple styles of night guards and still have problems with teeth clenching and grinding, we are happy to recommend an alternative therapy.
You can also practice some new habits on your own to reduce the anxiety and stress that originally caused your bruxism. Some things for you to consider include:
- Stretching and massaging your neck and face muscles
- Eating softer foods
- Making sure that you stay hydrated
- Focused relaxation of the face
- Adjusting your schedule to ensure you get enough sleep
- Applying a heat or ice pack to the painful areas
Even though you’re struggling now, you can count on our dentists to provide you with comprehensive treatment of your bruxism or TMJ.