Many people clench or grind their jaw unconsciously. It is a very common habit, and for most people, it doesn’t cause any noticeable harm to their smile. For others, it can cause major problems in numerous areas of your oral health.
Bruxism, the medical term for this unconscious behavior, can also occur when you are sleeping. Many patients are unaware that they even do this, until a partner points it out to them. Or their symptoms become so unbearable that they have to seek out the help of a trained oral health care professional.
Today, your Newport Beach, CA dentist explains how custom night guards, designed specifically for you, might help alleviate your pain and discomfort!
What Causes Bruxism?
In short, there is no distinct answer. There are two forms of the condition, one for those who are awake, and those who are sleeping during the activity. Primarily we will concern ourselves today with the second variety.
While you sleep, your defenses against the action are suppressed, and the more base aspects of your brain are able to take over. And while we are unable to make you cease to move your jaw, what we can do is create a protective barrier between them so that they cannot create damage to your smile.
What Sort Of Damage?
There are a few different ways in which bruxism can cause harm to your oral health. These can influence both individual teeth, as well as how they sit within your face.
By repeatedly crashing the teeth together, the tops may become flattened, and dull. In molars this is very noticeable. But also that can mean the shortening of teeth in the front of the mouth, causing an unappealing appearance.
The strength and tension of the jaw is often strong enough to even crack your teeth. When this happens, it can lead to serious damage and risk of infection. When that infection reaches the interior of the tooth, you will most likely need a root canal and subsequent crown to create support. We would certainly like to prevent the damage from becoming this severe.
For the greater area of the head and neck, there can be further problems. The teeth can begin to move due to any activity of the jaw, particularly that of a side-to-side motion as we see in grinding and gnashing. Misalignment can become a very costly and time-intensive matter, so as with other issues, please receive help before it reaches this.
How Do Night Guards Help?
There are two common forms of night guards available to you. The first are boil-and-bite mouthguards and you can find them at your local drugstore or supermarket. With these, you soak the thermoplastic mouthguard blank into hot water, which softens the material.
Afterward, you take the softened guard and bite down firmly and directly, letting it harden. These are similar to the types of mouthguards used by athletes, a protective mold.
We also produce custom mouthguards specifically tailored to your needs. These are more extensive than the over-the-counter option, but if you are going to require them for a long-term period, they might be helpful to you. They can be smaller and more unobtrusive, as well as more comfortable to wear while you sleep.
Call Us For More Information!
If you have any questions about how night guard might help alleviate your discomfort, please give Dr. Hofkes at Balboa Dental Surgery a call at (949)630-0143. Or stop by our office here in Newport Beach, CA!