Stress is something we all experience. But one indicator of stress and tension is often overlooked is excessive grinding or clenching of the teeth, also called bruxism. Lovett Dental Baytown provides various dental services, including nightguards to prevent damage due to grinding.
Signs of Teeth Grinding
Since teeth grinding often happens during the night, you may not notice its effects until after the damage is done. Here are some signs to look for.
- Being told by family members that you are grinding your teeth
- Facial pain and tenderness
- Waking up with a headache
- Receding gums
- Jaw soreness
Causes of Teeth Grinding
While dental experts aren’t certain of the exact causes of bruxism, stress and tension are likely the primary culprits. People who have temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMJ) may also experience bruxism. The jaw soreness frequently associated with the condition can lead to teeth-clenching or grinding.
What Are Nightguards?
Nightguards are also called dental guards, bite guards, or nocturnal bite plates. These devices protect your teeth while you sleep. Nightguards reduce tension in your mouth and provide a barrier between your top and bottom teeth, reducing jaw pain and headaches. When clenching or grinding occurs, nightguards protect tooth enamel and prevent cracked, chipped, or broken teeth.
Do You Need a Nightguard?
If you’re looking for dental care in Texas, our dentists provide nightguards for TMJ or bruxism to optimize the health of your teeth and gums. Nightguards also protect dental crowns, dental veneers, and other cosmetic and restorative dentistry work.
When you come to our office, our dentists will take impressions of your teeth. Our laboratory can then design a custom nightguard to fit the unique contours of your mouth. Dental guards that are individually tailored provide better protection than the over-the-counter variety.
Types of Nightguards
There are three types of dental guards. The one that’s the best fit for you depends on the severity of your teeth grinding.
- Soft guards work well for mild or occasional grinding. Many consider these the most comfortable and easiest to get used to. However, they are not very durable and therefore are not a long-term solution.
- Dentists typically recommend dual laminate guards for moderate to severe bruxism. Soft on the inside and hard on the outside, these guards are not as comfortable as the soft variety but are usually longer-lasting.
- People with the most severe cases of bruxism usually wear hard dental guards. These rigid and highly durable devices are made of acrylic. Because of their thickness, they can be more difficult to adjust to than the other two types.
How To Adjust to Your Dental Guards
At first, it can be difficult to sleep with a nocturnal bite plate in your mouth. Here are some tips to help you adjust to it.
- Talk to your dentist to ensure you’re using the device that’s right for you.
- Place the guard in your mouth right before going to sleep.
- Wear your guard consistently for four to six weeks. By that time, you should feel more comfortable with it.
Your dentist will give you instructions to care for your dental guard between appointments so it lasts as long as possible. You will need to bring your nightguard to your appointments so your dentist can evaluate its condition to determine when it’s time for a new one.