Do you wake up in the morning with a sore jaw or sore teeth? Do you suffer from chronic morning headaches? If so, you may be clenching or grinding your teeth as you sleep each night. Chronic teeth grinding or clenching, also known as bruxism, can cause serious damage to your jaw and teeth if left untreated. Although there are over-the-counter solutions, we have found most patients benefit from a custom-made night guard at our Tempe, AZ, office. At Value Dental Centers Tempe, provide these custom-fitted guards so our patients feel comfortable wearing them to bed each night.
How Can I Tell if I Suffer from Bruxism?
The most common symptom of bruxism is waking with sore teeth or a sore jaw. You may also suffer from chronic headaches or earaches, especially in the morning. Some patients also experience pain in their gums and cheeks. If you grind your teeth, they may become worn down over time, which your dentist will notice at your next exam. If you think you grind your teeth at night, ask your partner or roommate if they’ve noticed. Teeth grinding is often loud enough for other people to hear it, even if they aren’t in bed next to you.
Bruxism is frequently associated with stress. If your teeth clenching or grinding dissipates after a stressful event, you may not need to see your dentist. If bruxism becomes a chronic problem, though, you should make an appointment to discuss your treatment options. In addition to stress, there are several other underlying causes that can contribute to bruxism, including snoring and sleep apnea, cigarette smoking, and consuming too much alcohol or caffeine.
How Can a Night Guard Help?
If your teeth grinding and/or clenching seems stress related, an over-the-counter pain medication and stress-reducing tactics such as deep breathing and meditation may be all you need. If your bruxism persists even after stress subsides, you should make an appointment to see your dentist. For most patients, a custom-fitted night guard is recommended to treat chronic bruxism. Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth to craft your custom night guard from soft plastic. Your guard will fit between your teeth similar to a sports guard. This soft plastic will protect your teeth from erosion caused by grinding. It will also absorb the force of clenching to prevent stress on your temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
Your dentist will also ask you questions to try to determine the underlying causes of your bruxism. If he or she thinks it might be related to sleep apnea, a different oral appliance may be recommended to reduce snoring. He or she may recommend lifestyle changes to reduce stress and recommend a reduction in alcohol and/or caffeine consumption, as well as smoking cessation. You will likely notice a significant improvement in your symptoms after just a few nights.
What are the Benefits of a Custom-Made Night Guard?
Unlike over-the-counter guards, which are bulky and uncomfortable, your custom-made night guard fits perfectly over your teeth. This enhances the guard’s ability to protect your teeth without causing any discomfort throughout the night. After using your night guard for several nights, you should notice great improvements in your symptoms. Your pain will dissipate and you will likely wake each morning feeling refreshed and well rested.
Schedule Your Consultation Today?
If you suffer from tooth or jaw pain in the morning, you may benefit from a custom-fitted night guard. Contact Value Dental Centers Tempe today to schedule a consultation.