Stop Grinding Your Teeth with a Night Guard
Do you wake up in the morning with a sore jaw or headaches? If so, you might be part of the 8% of people who grind their teeth at night.
Bruxism is the clinical term for teeth grinding, which can cause severe dental issues if it is left untreated. Some of the more superficial symptoms of bruxism are dull headaches, chewing of your inner cheek, a sore jaw, or painful teeth, generally when you wake up. In the long-term, teeth grinding can cause you to wear away your enamel, eventually leading to microfractures. Grinding also puts a tremendous amount of strain on your temporo-mandibular joint, which causes the headaches and a sore, clenched jaw. Bruxism isn’t usually noticed until it starts to cause major issues, which is another reason why regular checkups with your dentist to check for signs of worn-down, grinded teeth are necessary.
What Causes Teeth Grinding?
There are many possible reasons. High levels of stress, even if you aren’t aware of it, can cause you to unconsciously clench your jaw and grind your teeth both day and night. There is also the possibility that your top and bottom teeth are not properly aligned, either because of tooth shape or misaligned jaw. This causes your teeth to meet in an unnatural place when you close your mouth, which can promote grinding. Finally, a variety of sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, have been linked to cases of bruxism.
What are the Treatments for Bruxism?
There is no “cure” for bruxism, although we can greatly reduce or complete eliminate the symptoms. If you are diagnosed, we would recommend that you be fitting for a Night Guard (also called a Bite Plate) as soon as possible. Resembling the mouth guards that boxers wear, a night guard is a fitted piece of plastic that goes over top of your teeth. This prevents you from grinding them together at night, protecting your enamel. It can also provide cushioning, reducing any jaw clenching or soreness you might feel in the morning.
To make your custom-fitted Night Guard/Bite Plate, we take a highly-detailed impression of your teeth. We then send it off to the lab to be custom-made specifically for your mouth. A week or so later, we will have you back to the office to make some adjustments to the guard, ensuring a proper fit. The first time you wear it, you might find it a bit uncomfortable, but after a few days your mouth will adjust and you will hardly even notice it as you fall into a restful sleep.
Can I Just Use an Off-the-Shelf Night Guard?
You might find a variety of “Night Guards” and “Bite Plates” in your local drug store, all claiming to be just as effective as a custom-fitted one that you would get from us. We highly recommend you go with our custom-fitted one. A poorly-fitted Night Guard can put even greater stress on your teeth. They are often hard, which might protect the teeth they are covering, but damage the teeth that are grinding against them. For quality of comfort, fit, and effectiveness, you really cannot beat a custom-fitted Night Guard from our dental office.
How Much Does a Night Guard Cost?
Night Guards are often at least partially covered by most forms of dental insurance. In the long-run, a properly fitted Night Guard will save you money, as teeth grinding can lead to many dental complications like worn-down, cracked, and painful teeth.
If you’re waking up with a headache in the morning and think it might be a case of bruxism, just call our office for an appointment at 416-224-8300. Dr. Goldstein will fit you with a custom-made Night Guard and send you on your way to have an improved and restful sleep!