Dental night guards are frequently the treatment of choice for patients who have a known history of unconscious clenching or grinding of their teeth while they sleep. This condition is known as bruxism, and most patients will grind their teeth at night and not even know they are doing it. Long-term consistent bruxism can lead to a number of problems with teeth, the jaw, and the TMJ (jaw joint). If left untreated, Bruxism can cause worn, cracked, and broken teeth, as well as frequent headaches and TMJ/TMD. This condition can easily be treated and should be done so at an early stage to prevent future problems.
Sports mouth guards are very similar to night guards and the process of making them is very similar. We recommend the use of a mouth guard for athletes of all type, including both contact and non-contact sports. Mouth guards are important to long-term oral health since sports accidents can cause severe damage to teeth.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF BRUXISM
While your dentist at Ferdos Family Dental is the best person to diagnose bruxism, there are a few signs and symptoms you should look out for in between your regular visits. These include:
- Worn, Chipped or flat teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Waking up with a sore face and jaw muscles
- Neck or facial pain
- Scalloped tongue or uneven tongue edges
- Frequent headaches or pain in the jaw joint (TMJ)
It can be hard to precisely identify the cause of clinching and grinding, and it can be a result of chronic stress, an accident or another injury, sleep apnea or missing teeth. Sometimes chronic stress or medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, can trigger bruxism.
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it is possible that you may be grinding your teeth. We encourage you to give our office a call to schedule an appointment. We will perform a complete and thorough exam in our relaxing office to determine if bruxism is the source of what you are experiencing. If it is, we will discuss your treatment options and work together to determine which one may be best for you.
There are several types of options regarding night guards including soft acrylic night guards, hard acrylic night guards, and sleep apnea devices.
- Hard acrylic – This type of night guard is the treatment of choice for patients with chronic bruxism as it is the most compatible, comfortable and longest lasting option.
- Soft acrylic – This type of night guard is used in certain situations where temporary relief is required or in patients who cannot tolerate a hard night guard.
- Sleep apnea devices – Certain patients who suffer from sleep apnea will also suffer from bruxism as a result of poor oxygen flow while they sleep. These patients require a specialized appliance that can treat both mild to moderate sleep apnea and bruxism.
While over-the-counter “boil and bite” night guards found at most drugstores can work to decrease bruxism and tooth grinding, there are several benefits to choosing a custom-made night guard made at the dental office. Night guards made at Ferdos Family Dental use precise detailed molds of your teeth to make a more comfortable and well fitting night guard. We will also consider the alignment of your teeth and jaw during the fitting process to make certain that your night guard does not place excessive stress on the joint which could lead to other problems. Lastly, while over-the-counter night guards may seem appealing because of their lower cost, custom made night guards will typically last up to 10 years, which makes them a more safe and cost-efficient option in the long run.
Ferdos Family Dental
Although a night guard or sports mouth guard is a large investment, you be can rest assured that you are receiving the highest quality dental care at our office! At Ferdos Family Dental, we only use the highest quality materials and work with the best dental labs to ensure the best possible outcome. We will also work with your insurance company to ensure you get the maximum benefit, along with offering a variety of payment options including Care Credit with 6 months interest-free financing!
If you think you suffer from bruxism or feel that you need a night guard, call and schedule an appointment!