Night Guards for TMJ/TMD & Bruxism
If you sleep well you may not know that you are grinding your teeth in the night. Or, if you have a significant other or roommates or friends ask them if they notice anything unusual during your sleep. Teeth grinding, or medically called bruxism, affects 10 to 15 percent of all adults in the United States. This translates to 30 to 40 million children and adults. A very common condition. Let’s identify the effects of bruxism, the ways to alleviate those effects, night guards and how they work, and the benefits of you wearing a night guard while you sleep.
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Bruxism & TMJ
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is when you clench or grind your teeth at night. Again, a difficult dental problem to diagnose. Some indicators that you can look for are if you wake with jaw pain or wake up with a headache. By making an appointment with Smile Eden Prairie they can exam for worn teeth or loose or fractured teeth. Bruxism can even be the cause for hearing loss. The other severe side effect of bruxism is that of TMJ. This stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. This disorder can become quite painful and lead to a variety of health issues like swelling, lockjaw, trouble chewing, pains in your face, neck jaw and shoulders and jaw fatigue. Chronic grinding can result in fracturing, loosening or even loss of teeth. Next you are looking at bridges, crowns, root canals and implants because you were doing something you didn’t even know about.
Grinding & Clenching at Night
The easiest avenue is with a night guard. But a few steps you can take that are beneficial is to first cut down on caffeine near your bedtime. You should eliminate and avoid the habit of chewing on non-food items. Take a pencil as a quick example. Reducing alcohol late at night will help with clenching and grinding as will simply reducing your stress level. You should work on letting go of negative and stress causing thoughts for more reasons than just grinding your teeth. Anxiety is another determining factor to teeth grinding at night. Or you may have a deeper sleep disorder or sleep apnea. You can also hold a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe before you head to bed to relax your jaw muscles.
The Night Guard
The night guard, or sometimes called a mouth protector or a bite splint, basically is available in three types. First, you can get a stock night guard at any sporting goods store or even department store. They are a bit bulky and not much can be done to adjust their fit. The second option is used by many young athletes, that is the boil and bite mouth protector. Purchased anywhere, you place in hot water to soften, place it in your mouth and shape it around your teeth using your finger, your tongue and even a good solid bite. If you have the dentist at Smile Eden Prairie make your night guard they will make an impression of your teeth and use a special material to custom fit the night guard. This avenue will provide the most comfort, fit and protection. The night guard usually covers just your upper teeth. The night guard should be not only comfortable but resist tears, be durable and easy to keep clean and should not restrict your breathing or even your speech.
Night Guard Benefits
A custom night guard will go a long way in positioning your jaw to the promote muscle relaxation. By reducing that stress in your jaw it will provide a sense of relief that then allows you to sleep better and relax more. With a simple night guard you can eliminate clenching and grinding and all of the negative side effects that can come from this common problem. You may prevent snoring by allowing you to breathe better. Your morning headaches have gone away and your sleep patterns have improved. By not damaging your teeth you have put money back into your pocket by eliminating the restorative dental procedures in your future. Excessive wear, chipped teeth and damaged fillings or damaged crowns can all easily result from grinding and clenching at night. You can also grind away and remove the enamel on your teeth. Not immediately visible but now that tooth or teeth are also more susceptible to oral damage like cavities.
Schedule Oral Exam & Research Night Guards
The most common reason for folks not wearing a night guard is that they simply don’t think they need one or don’t know they need one. By scheduling a regular oral examination at Smile Eden Prairie our Doctors can immediately look for evidence of bruxism. The health industry strongly suggests that you see your dentist twice a year. In addition to an expert opinion regarding your exam they will also capture x-rays of what is going on below your gum line and then also have a hygienist professionally clean your teeth. Even though you can indeed buy an over the counter night guard it is highly recommended that you trust the professionals at Smile Eden Prairie to make this simple appliance for you. The benefits of seeing your dentist regularly is they can monitor and track changes with either your teeth or gums. It’s possible that your clenching and grinding may not be there all the time due to levels of stress or increased anxiety. Regular visits will show changes in that regard. They will also monitor your at home oral hygiene instructing you to brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Also they will give you a new toothbrush at each visit, which is about how often the toothbrush needs to be changed out to be effective. Flossing once a day is advised as well and will be evident with these regular exams. If you have a night guard they will advise you to keep it clean as an extension of your good oral hygiene.
Contact Smile Eden Prairie
Having night guards can significantly impact and improve the lives of those with damaged teeth. Scheduling an appointment for night guards is the first step towards being confident in your smile once again. We are here to help you begin your journey towards the perfect smile! Please contact us to set up an appointment for night guards at (952) 941-9829. At Smile Eden Prairie, we are passionate about your smile and committed to providing you with the quality care you need!