Night Guards and Teeth Grinding
What is bruxism?
Clenching and grinding movements that impact the teeth are called bruxism. While occasional teeth grinding is common, regular occurrence can cause lasting damage to teeth and lead to other oral health complications.
Bruxism can occur while you are awake or asleep and is a common problem among both children and adults. Most people don’t realize when they are clenching and grinding their teeth — it’s often noticed by another person, such as a partner or parent.
Those suffering from sleep bruxism may notice other signs when they are awake. These may include dull headaches, ear pain, sensitive or loose teeth, and pain or soreness in the jaw. In more severe cases, patients may notice cracked or fractured teeth — in cases like these, immediate dental attention is necessary to prevent further damage.
Why do people grind their teeth?
Bruxism is often associated with stress in adults. Adults are cautioned to take extra care in order to correct the problem, especially because their tooth fractures can require extensive restorative treatments.
In addition to stress and anxiety, bruxism can also be caused by sleep disorders (such as sleep apnea), an abnormal bite, and missing or crooked teeth. Outside of these oral concerns, people who consume alcohol and use tobacco products are also twice as susceptible to clench and grind their teeth during sleep.
Why should you be concerned about teeth grinding?
You depend on your teeth everyday to chew, speak and smile. Clenching and grinding can occur while you are awake or asleep, and can be due to a complex variety of underlying causes. More importantly, these habits are often linked to stress, sleep disordered breathing and sleep apnea. Uncontrolled tooth grinding can produce irreversible damage to your natural teeth, often resulting in worn, cracked, or loose teeth. Over time this damage to your natural teeth can lead to a shorter facial appearance and require extensive restorative treatment to correct.
Teeth already endure constant wear and tear on a daily basis through normal oral habits alone; when coupled with the pressure exerted by clenching and grinding, the risk for negative effects is heightened, as the repeated, unconscious motion greatly exacerbates the damage that can occur from everyday wear. If you show early signs of these habits, preventing damage to your natural teeth will help preserve your teeth and avoid complications.
Aside from the indication of stress and anxiety that must be addressed, chronic sleep bruxism can eventually result in fractured, loosened, and lost teeth — each presenting detrimental effects to dental health and adversely affecting oral functions like biting, chewing, and speaking.
How can Horizon Dental help?
Chronic bruxism can be treated with specialized dental treatments and proper lifestyle management. The stress and anxiety, as well as alignment issues and missing or crooked teeth that cause clenching and grinding during sleep can be corrected, in order to prevent further damage.
Ask Your Dentist
The first step in correcting bruxism is a proper diagnosis. The moment a loved one observes that you clench and grind your teeth during sleep, or you exhibit the symptoms during the day, it’s important to visit your dentist.
Use a Night Guard
One of the most effective ways that we use to manage and treat bruxism is prescribing the use of a custom-fit night guard. Wearing a night guard during sleep reduces the pressure of clenching and grinding on teeth, which prevents damage from occurring.
If there’s one thing that bruxism proves, it is that parts of the body and day-to-day life are more connected than we think. When teeth grinding is a result of stress and anxiety or exposure to caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco, it is important to seek solutions for better lifestyle management, in order to prevent these stressors from causing adverse effects on your oral health.
The Horizon Dental Difference
Our decades of experience has shown us that many dental health issues are connected to other aspects of life, which is why we strive to help patients manage their chronic conditions and treat it the best way we know how — often including a healthy mix of lifestyle recommendations and the latest standards in dental care.
To book your next check-up, call Horizon Dental at 905-475-5673 or contact us here.