It is estimated that 8% of Americans suffer from bruxism, or a nightly grinding or clenching of the teeth, and the condition can affect children as well. While occasional bruxism, most commonly associated with stress or anxiety, may not be harmful, regular teeth grinding can cause damage to your teeth, facial and jaw pain, and can disrupt your sleep. Chronic bruxism can cause a great deal of pain and damage; however, it is a relatively easy condition to treat with the use of a night guard, which we are happy to provide at Value Dental Centers in Queen Creek, AZ.
What Causes Bruxism?
There are many different potential causes of bruxism. Grinding or clenching your teeth may be associated with stress or anxiety, and although these causes can be temporary, some patients do suffer from chronic stress, which can result in chronic bruxism. Cigarette smoking, and alcohol or caffeine consumption may also lead to bruxism. Chronic snoring and sleep apnea can also cause teeth grinding, resulting in damaged teeth.
What are the Symptoms of Bruxism?
If you grind your teeth at night, your partner or a roommate may have noticed it, as grinding can frequently be loud enough for other people to hear. Grinding or clenching your teeth may result in the following symptoms:
- Headaches or earaches
- Sore teeth or gums
- Jaw or facial pain
- Worn teeth
When left untreated, chronic bruxism can wear down the teeth and lead to cracks among other damage.
How is Bruxism Treated?
Occasional bruxism may be treated with the use of over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen to reduce any painful symptoms. Working to reduce your stress or anxiety can also help reduce nightly teeth grinding or clenching.
For patients with chronic bruxism, a night guard is commonly recommended. A night guard is an oral appliance that is crafted from a soft plastic created from impressions of your teeth for a custom fit. The soft plastic protects your teeth from damage caused by nightly grinding and can reduce the pressure on the teeth and jaw from clenching your teeth.
Your dentist may also ask you questions about your stress levels, sleeping habits, and more to try to find the root cause of your bruxism and may make recommendations to treat the cause as well. You may be prescribed medication to alleviate any painful symptoms and your dentist may recommend additional treatment if you are a chronic snorer or if you have sleep apnea. Taking steps to reduce your stress, caffeine intake, among other lifestyle changes can also help eliminate chronic bruxism.
What are the Benefits of Custom-Fitted Night Guards?
There are a variety of inexpensive over-the-counter night guard options available, however, many patients find that these options are bulky and uncomfortable. These options are crafted from lower-grade materials and offer your teeth minimal protection. Additionally, because they can be so uncomfortable, patients are less likely to wear them every night, and they do nothing to improve your bruxism, sleep, and any other symptoms you may be suffering.
A custom-made night guard can provide you with the maximum amount of comfort and protection to effectively reduce or eliminate your symptoms of bruxism and protect your teeth and jaw from nightly grinding and clenching.
Contact Us Today
You don’t have to live with the painful symptoms of bruxism. Our skilled dentists can take impressions of your teeth to create a custom-made night guard to relieve your bruxism and protect your teeth. Call our Value Dental Center at Queen Creek today to schedule an appointment.