What Exactly is Bruxism?Bruxism is a condition that affects your mouth. It is a term that refers to the grinding and clenching of your teeth. Grinding and clenching puts excessive pressure on your teeth, your jaws, and your temporomandibular joints. The overuse of your facial muscles can lead to muscle exhaustion. With bruxism, you may find yourself faced with serious dental issues. The condition can also significantly impact your quality of life.
Causes of BruxismThere are many causes of bruxism. One of the biggest causes is stress. Stress causes the muscles in your body, including those in your face, to become tense. When your jaw muscles become tense, your jaws are forced together, which puts excessive pressure on them and your teeth. During the day, you may notice that your teeth are clenched, and you can actively put a stop to it. Stress does not just affect you during the day, however. As you sleep, your teeth may clench together uninterrupted. This results in you waking up with a sore jaw and tired facial muscles.
Stress is just one cause of bruxism. You may also experience bruxism if you have crooked teeth or poorly aligned jaws, you use tobacco products or alcohol, you take certain types of prescription or illegal drugs, or if you consume a significant amount of caffeine.
Symptoms of BruxismWhen bruxism first begins, you might never know that you have it. Symptoms are barely noticeable. You might notice some slight discomfort, but do not think twice about it. The longer the condition, and the cause, goes untreated, the worse the symptoms become. You may find yourself faced with pain in your jaws and face, swelling in your jaw or face, excessive tooth wear, tooth damage, and gum recession. Your teeth may also eventually loosen under the constant pressure, which can change your bite, or your teeth may even fall out completely.
How Does a Night Guard Help with Bruxism?A night guard is a common treatment for bruxism. It is a device that is made to be worn in your mouth, specifically over your teeth, while you sleep. It resembles a sports mouth guard in appearance. The function of the night guard is to absorb the impact of grinding and clenching. By absorbing the impact, the night guard takes the pressure off of your teeth, your jaws, and your temporomandibular joints. This helps to alleviate the symptoms of bruxism, protecting your oral health and improving your quality of life.
You may have seen night guards for sale at a local pharmacy. However, we recommend a professionally made custom night guard. While over the counter night guards may seem like the easier, more affordable option, these night guards may not fit properly. When your night guard does not fit properly, it may fall out, rendering it ineffective. Ill-fitting night guards can also cause issues with breathing and other complications. A custom night guard, which we make from impressions of your mouth, provides an optimal fit and optimal results.
With a night guard, you can get relief from bruxism symptoms, alleviating your pain and improving your quality of life. Call Harry Albers DDS today at (707) 806-0545 to schedule your appointment and find out if a night guard is right for you.