Do you wake up with jaw pain or soreness, earaches, and headaches or find yourself grinding and gnashing your teeth? If you do, you may have a condition called bruxism.
If you have bruxism, you may clench or grind your teeth when you’re awake or asleep without noticing it. Stress, sleeping problems, an abnormal bite, or crooked and missing teeth can contribute to bruxism. Many people don’t even know that they grind their teeth, as it mostly happens while they are sleeping or while they are preoccupied.
Grinding, bruxing and clenching can cause severe damage to your teeth and gums over time. It can also cause your chewing muscles to spasm, which can cause TMD. There are different approaches to treatment depending on the cause. If your teeth do not meet evenly, a bite evaluation can determine the cause of the bruxing and provide the information needed to eliminate it. Other people clench and grind for psychological reasons. This cannot be solved by adjusting the teeth, but an occlusal guard or nightguard can be worn to prevent the teeth from being damaged. Occlusal guards can be made of hard or soft material and can double as orthodontic retainers to prevent your teeth from moving.
There are three types of nightguards you can choose from: a pre-made guard, a ‘boil and bite’ guard, and a custom made guard. Over the counter guards usually do not fit accurately and may cause more severe bruxing or clenching than not wearing one at all. All of the nightguards that are custom made at Westfield Family Dentistry are fitted to your teeth, tear-resistant, easy to clean, and do not block your airway.