Do you clench or grind your teeth at night? Perhaps we should ask your partner! Nighttime teeth grinding, or bruxism, causes many problems, including those that go beyond your mouth and affect your partner’s quality of rest. If you’re guilty of bruxism while you sleep, you are probably very familiar with headaches or jaw soreness when you wake up to. Since bruxism is usually a subconscious habit, it can be difficult to break. The good news is that your dentist can help you!
A custom night guard helps guide your jaws and teeth into a more natural resting position, even when your muscles are saying otherwise. The sturdy bit splint keeps teeth from rubbing against one another and the jaw from being strained while you sleep. The benefits are profound because excess grinding can lead to TMJ disorders and permanent damage to your smile.
Mouth guards for nighttime teeth grinding can protects against the following:
- TMJ disorders
- A bruxism habit through the night means your jaw muscles stay constantly engaged and tense. This can cause or worsen a TMD/TMJ condition and even change the appearance of your face.
- Excessive/premature wear
- Extreme wear caused by grinding and clenching can result in enamel chipping on your teeth, exposing the inner layers of your tooth structure. You may notice worn, flat, or sharp-edged teeth.
- Damage to dental work
- Grinding can also cause damage to dental restorations like fillings and crowns and require them to be replaced more frequently.
- When your jaws are prevented from locking up all night, you’ll benefit from less muscle tension and fewer headaches the next day. Some people notice an improvement in neck and shoulder pain as well.
Don’t try to take the shortcut by getting an over the counter mouth guard. They are loosely fitted for a “one size fits all” approach, which means that they come out easily, wear out quickly, and are not very comfortable to wear. A custom night guard will be perfectly molded to your smile and fit securely to your teeth all night long.
If you are unsure if you have a grinding habit, ask your dentist. Your dentist can evaluate your wear patterns, tooth surface, TMJ, and muscle tone in your jaw to determine if you would benefit from bite splint therapy.