Do you grind, gnash, or clench your teeth or jaws in your sleep? Are you constantly waking up with a headache or sore jaw? Do you have teeth that are inexplicably loose, chipped, or even broken? If any or all of these apply to you, you should talk to the dentists at Loretto Family Dentistry about getting a night mouthguard as you may be suffering from a condition known as sleep bruxism.
What is Bruxism
Bruxism is a general term for the unconscious, chronic habit of teeth grinding and or jaw clenching. Dentists refer to it as an oral parafunctional activity as it is not related to normal dental function like eating or talking. This habit is quite common and can occur either during the day or at night.
Awake bruxism is the term given to the habit of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw while you are awake. If you do this at night, it’s called sleep bruxism. Sleep bruxism or nocturnal bruxism falls under the category of sleep-related movement disorders. The habit of grinding your teeth and or clenching your jaw clenching while you sleep is considered a severe problem. This is mainly due to the extent of the damage that often results. Sleep bruxism may also result in other types of sleep disorders, such as snoring and sleep apnea, a condition where your breathing stops and repeatedly starts as you sleep.
The exact reason people grind, gnash, or clench their teeth or jaws in their sleep is unknown. Stress and anxiety are common causes of this condition. Lifestyle habits like alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, and caffeine also play a role in this habit. Some people may develop sleep bruxism as a result of using certain medications, including amphetamines or if they have a facial nerve or muscle disease.
Different Type of Night Mouthguards
Night mouthguards are an effective way to treat sleep bruxism. You may also hear these devices called splints, occlusal guards, night guards, nocturnal bite plates, dental guards, or night mouthguards. They act as a physical protective barrier between your upper and lower teeth. A mouthguard does not prevent the grinding or clenching itself. Instead, it distributes the pressure evenly across your jaw and protects teeth enamel from deterioration.
There are different types of night mouthguards. You can get disposable ones, made of thin, light plastic over the counter. They are affordable and comfortable to wear. Some are adjustable, but they are not a good option for long-term use. Boil and bite night guards are cheap and usually fit better than disposable ones as the material molds to your teeth after you dip it in boiling water. Custom-made night guards are best for treating severe and persistent cases of sleep bruxism. They are designed to fit your teeth, and the thickness varies depending on the severity of your condition.
It’s important to address sleep bruxism early to prevent the need for invasive dental treatments. Our team of dentists can help you choose the right kind of night mouthguard. Give us a call at Loretto Family Dentistry at (940) 287-3535 today to make an appointment or for more information.
Love everyone I've encountered here! I was told about Dr. Mackie a few months ago and just wish I'd known about her sooner! She is very thorough and kind. It's a bit of a drive for me, but I don't mind and actually look forward to my visits!