Night Guards for Teeth Grinding
People who grind their teeth at night are not usually aware that they are doing it. The most common reason for unconscious teeth grinding is stress. This condition, technically known as bruxism, puts undue pressure on your jaws, teeth, muscles, and tissues. Wearing a night guard specially designed to treat bruxism is a simple way to overcome this problem.
Other Common Causes of Bruxism
In addition to stress, some of the other reasons you may grind your teeth at night include:
- Poor diet
- Missing or crooked teeth
- Poor sleep habits
- Side effect or complication of other medical conditions, including Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease
- Side effect of medication, particularly anti-depressants
Approximately one in three people struggle with bruxism. Children are not immune from the problem, especially when they are fighting an ear infection. Adult women report having issues with teeth grinding at night most often. Those with highly competitive personalities are more prone to this problem as well. Some people with bruxism have other issues with biting that serves no useful purpose, such as chewing their fingernails.
The reason it is essential to treat your bruxism is that it puts you at a higher risk of developing TMJ, which stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. You can even have both conditions at the same time. TMJ causes pain in your jaw, ears, head, and neck. Another issue with untreated bruxism is that subconsciously grinding your teeth wears away the protective enamel. This may require you to need a dental crown or another restoration in the future. Lastly, not treating your bruxism can cause problems with sleeping, eating, and mood regulation.
Stop Teeth Grinding by Wearing a Comfortable Night Guard
Before Dr. Chau prescribes a night guard, he will evaluate you to make sure that you do indeed have bruxism. If so, he will provide you with a customized retainer that you should place in your mouth after brushing your teeth at night. If you are still having problems with teeth grinding after wearing it for a while or you have already developed TMJ, he will present you with additional treatment options.
Making certain lifestyle changes can also help you overcome bruxism. Dr. Chau typically advises his patients to do the following:
- Choose foods with a softer texture
- Drink enough water during the day to remain hydrated
- Commit to getting eight hours of sleep
- Lie down with an ice or heat pack when the pain gets more intense
- Massage your facial muscle
- Reduce stress and learn new relaxation techniques
Some patients underestimate just how disruptive bruxism or TMJ can be to their lives. If you’re ready to stop teeth grinding and start getting a good night’s sleep, contact Joshua Family Dentistry to request a consultation and evaluation.