Do you awaken with a sore jaw or experience unexplained earaches or headaches? You may unknowingly grind your teeth, a condition known as bruxism. Many people grind their teeth or clench their jaw as a reaction to stress, sometimes during the day, but more often at night. Since most grinding happens at night most patients are unaware they grind until signs or symptoms begin to arise. Left untreated, bruxism is extremely damaging to natural teeth and restorations, can cause facial pain, ringing in the ears, and can compromise proper jaw alignment. Grinding can also affect your appearance over time. The teeth are part of the substructure that holds facial characteristics in position. As your teeth wear down and become shorter the dimensions of the face, cheeks and lips collapse slightly lending itself to a more aged appearance not to mention worn teeth can age a person.
How Your Dentist Can Help
Bruxism is involuntary and mainly occurs at night when you lay down and the jaw position shifts. The brain is alerted of the new jaw position and initiates grinding as a way to find a more comfortable resting position. Unfortunately grinding will not ever carve out a more comfortable position but rather contribute to making the problem worse. If you have these signs or symptoms we may suggest a professional night guard to alleviate your symptoms and prevent further damage. A custom guard is made of clear acrylic and fits discreetly over your upper teeth and is comfortable to wear at night. They are fabricated from precise impressions and bite measurements taken in the office. The dental laboratory will use those measurements to fabricate a night guard designed to hold your teeth a certain distance apart and in a certain position thereby eliminating that trigger to grind. The jaw joint and bite are very sensitive to change so having your appliance made specific to your mouth is the best way to eliminate grinding and protect your teeth. Over the counter night guard kits are not designed to treat bruxism and often times will make the problem worse. Dr. Michaelson will examine your jaw and inspect the wear patterns on your teeth to determine if you are grinding your teeth and if you could benefit from a custom night guard. Night guards typically last 3-5 years. You will need to consider a new one when you have begun to wear thru the biting surface.
Ask Your Orlando Dentist About Night Guards
Night guards can’t always stop patients from grinding but they protect the teeth and restorations from the unconscious forces exerted. The wear that occurs on your night guard would have taken place on your teeth. Wearing a guard will preserve healthy tooth structure. Ask us about a night guard at your next visit.