A condition known as teeth grinding is one where an individual grinds or clinches their teeth. This can be extremely damaging to teeth over a period of time. In fact, when teeth grinding goes untreated permanent damage can result ending in tooth loss and even damage to the jaw and jaw muscles. That said a dental care provider might recommend at some point that a patient wear a night guard. The reason for a night guard is simple in that teeth grinding typically occurs while someone is either under stress or sleeping.
One way to know that you have teeth grinding is if you wake up in the morning with a sore jaw. Chronic daytime headaches or persistent tooth pain may also be symptomatic of teeth grinding. Your dental care provider will be the one who will be able to confirm whether or not you have teeth grinding. Keep in mind that the persistent grinding of teeth eventually wears away the protective outer layer of the teeth that is known as the enamel. When enamel is worn away over time there is no way to replace it and eventually teeth become compromised through cavities and other related problems.
Teeth grinding happens for several reasons including sleep disorders, stress, depression or anxiety. There is even some evidence to suggest that those with sleep apnea are more likely to be afflicted with teeth grinding at night. There is more evidence that suggests that those who smoke, drink alcohol or consume large amounts of caffeine may be increasingly susceptible to teeth grinding. Stress and anxiety seem to be the more common causes of this disorder.
Temporomandibular Joint Pain
Most important to consider is damage to teeth and how to prevent the persistent problem of teeth grinding. A night guard is simply a protective device that is worn at night and that covers the teeth and gums. It is intended to reduce injury to the teeth and gums while an individual is asleep. A night guard is removable and typically made of acrylic material. It is also used in many cases to treat TMJ or temporomandibular joint pain. In essence, a night guard is nothing more than a plastic custom fitted appliance that is positioned comfortably between the upper and lower teeth.
Adjust to Wearing a Night Guard
A night guard should be worn as instructed by your dental care provider. Follow the instructions offered by your dentist as a way to improve dental health. While it takes some time to adjust to wearing a night guard, eventually it will feel natural. A guard is frequently used in the evening hours, while there are instances where your dentist may recommend wearing it during the day also. It should be cleaned regularly and worn consistently. Follow these simple tips and enjoy all that a modern dental night guard can do to improve dental health. Contact your Elk Grove dentist, My Huynh, DMD at Laguna Park Dentistry today for dental guard products and services.