Do you ever wake up with a sore jaw or headache? If so, you may be grinding your teeth at night. Over time, teeth grinding wears away tooth enamel and puts you at higher risk for tooth fractures, TMJ disorders, or even tooth loss.
Continue reading to learn how to spot the signs of bruxism and whether you need a teeth grinding guard. For more information, we recommend reaching out to our Grand Rapids dentist at Complete Health Dentistry that can create a night guard for teeth grinding.
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is the medical term for grinding or clenching teeth. Many people are unaware that they grind their teeth at night until it’s brought up by their dentist during their routine dental exam. Your partner may also alert you to teeth grinding if it’s loud enough to wake them up at night.
Symptoms of bruxism include:
- Worn tooth enamel
- Jaw pain
- Neck pain
- Tooth pain
- Fractured, chipped, or loose teeth
- TMJ disorders
The force exerted from teeth grinding overworks your jaw muscles so you wake up feeling sore. If left untreated, bruxism can wear down your teeth to the point where your dentist recommends you get porcelain crowns or other tooth restorations to repair your smile. Thankfully, a nightguard protects your smile from teeth grinding and saves you money in the long run.
How does a night guard work?
A night guard is an oral appliance you wear while you sleep that forms a protective layer between your upper and lower teeth. During your first appointment, your dentist will take dental impressions and send them to the lab where your bruxism guard will be made.
Once your night guard for teeth is ready, you will be called back to your dentist’s office. Before sending you home with your new night guard, your dentist may make slight adjustments to the fit so you can breathe and sleep comfortably.
Why should I get a night guard?
A bruxism mouth guard is one of the best ways you can protect your smile from teeth grinding. If you are tired of waking up with jaw or neck pain, you’ll want to ask your dentist about getting a mouth guard. You might be surprised how well-rested you’ll feel after your first night wearing a dental night guard. Teeth grinding is a hard habit to kick, especially if you’re under a lot of stress. Thankfully, a night guard can protect your smile so you can get a good night’s sleep.
Night guards also help you save money in the long run because they help you avoid paying for expensive tooth restorations. For example, you may need a dental crown to repair a broken tooth. It costs much less in the long run to get a night mouth guard than it does to pay to repair teeth damaged by bruxism.
Dr. Ritzema DDS at Complete Health Dentistry is dedicated to helping you maintain a healthy smile by offering custom night guards and other preventative dentistry services. To schedule an appointment with our Grand Rapids dentist, call our office at (616) 458-7267.