It is estimated that bruxism, or teeth grinding, affects anywhere from eight to 31 percent of the general population. Many of these people do not realize they grind their teeth, which is why this figure varies so greatly. Because bruxism often occurs during sleep, we here at Elite Dental of Natick may recommend wearing a mouthguard at night if you exhibit certain signs and symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism
Bruxism can be hard to diagnose because it shares many symptoms with other disorders. During your initial consultation, Dr. Bethany Polnar will perform a diagnostic exam to determine whether or not you suffer from nocturnal teeth grinding. In the meantime, here are the signs and symptoms to look out for if bruxism is a concern:
If you or a sleep partner have experienced any of these symptoms, it may be time to schedule an appointment with a professional. Neglecting to seek out treatment can result in a number of severe complications. Catching bruxism early on can prevent the need for costly and time-consuming restorative procedures.
Treating Bruxism with a Mouthguard
If your bruxism takes place at night, we typically recommend a mouthguard as the first line of defense. A mouthguard is a plastic appliance, usually designed for the upper arch, that serves as a protective barrier between your teeth. This plastic barrier can help prevent premature enamel wear, keeping your teeth healthy and strong for years to come.
While there are several options, we always recommend a custom-fit guard due to its superior comfort and effectiveness. Store-bought alternatives, such as stock and boil-and-bite guards, often provide lackluster results. A poorly fitting night guard can exacerbate certain symptoms.
A custom-fit mouthguard is fabricated using an impression of your teeth, which results in a safer, more comfortable, and more successful appliance. Unlike store-bought products, your custom-fit guard should not cause problems with breathing or misalignments in your jaw. Our custom-fit guards are made from a durable plastic that improves longevity as well.
Oral Appliance for TMJ Disorders
Clenching your jaw during sleep can also cause problems with your TMJ or temporomandibular joint. This complex system of muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and bone controls the movements of your jaw. Any problem that prevents you from properly opening and closing your jaw is known as a TMJ disorder or TMD.
Much like bruxism, TMD can be treated using an oral appliance or mouthguard. Again, your oral appliance will be custom-fit to maximize comfort and effectiveness. In general, your appliance will be designed to keep your TMJ in its proper position, preventing you from clenching your jaw.
Schedule a Consultation Appointment
If you suspect that you grind your teeth at night, a mouthguard may be the ideal solution! Call (508) 319-9339 to schedule a consultation appointment now!