Bruxism is a grinding or clenching of your teeth, particularly at night while you sleep. For this problem, many orthodontists provide patients with night guards. A night guard protects your teeth from damage caused by bruxism, a common condition affecting up to 40 million adults in the U.S.
Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism
Tell-tale signs exist for knowing if you suffer bruxism. These include:
- Jaw muscle contractions
- Grinding sound while you sleep
- Tight, painful jaw muscles
- Long lasting facial pain
- Occasional swelling on the side of your lower jaw
- Sensitive teeth, especially when drinking or eating
- Toothaches or headaches
For these problems, your orthodontist usually recommends mouth guards to start, also called night guards. Other ways to help relieve your bruxism with or without treatment include relieving your stress and letting go of negative thoughts. While you work on your teeth clenching and grinding from a stress relief angle, talk to your orthodontist about your bruxism. She will know how to prevent further damage to your teeth and other oral structures.
What Are Night Guards?
Night guards help relieve symptoms of bruxism or teeth grinding. This appliance fits over your teeth while you sleep at night.
Your orthodontist provides mouth guards of a high quality and fit, unlike those found in drug stores. With a custom night guard made by professionals, the appliance covers your teeth properly and does not pinch or irritate your gums. Comfortable wear is important, so you will wear the appliance nightly as you should.
Wearing night guards prevents the surfaces of your teeth from grinding together. When you grind your teeth, you chip and crack them while also straining your jaw muscles. Teeth grinding causes tooth sensitivity as well as other dental damage.
Other Solutions for Teeth Grinding
If you grind or clench your teeth, mouth guards provide a good, temporary solution. Long-term solutions include teeth straightening using braces or aligner trays, to align your teeth properly. Misaligned teeth do not fit together as they should and lead many people to grind or clench their teeth at night.
Stress prevention also works well for relieving teeth grinding, but your stress level changes over time. So if you grind your teeth, you should still consider a night guard available through your orthodontist in the event your stress builds again. Meanwhile, try methods like yoga and meditation in addition to proper dental care. After all, stress relief helps you stay healthy in many ways, beyond just your teeth.
Also, try changing your diet or medications. Talk to your doctor about medicines you take and whether they possibly contribute to teeth grinding. Stimulants like caffeine in coffee, tea, sodas, and energy drinks add to bruxism problems. Antidepressant medications can also lead to teeth grinding.
Houston Area Treatment for Bruxism
In Pearland and Houston, G Orthodontics provides a wide range of orthodontic services and treatments, including for bruxism. Your whole family can have the straighter smiles and properly aligned bites needed for a lifetime of healthy daily living and sleep, with G Orthodontics’ help.
Services that G Orthodontics offers include:
- Metal and ceramic traditional braces
- Invisalign teeth alignment
- Sleep apnea treatment and mouth guards
- TMD and TMJ treatment
- Teeth whitening
If you or your child grind teeth at night, talk to Dr. Garcia at G Orthodontics. While this problem often seems minor at first, it can permanently alter you or your child’s smile. Children from the ages of nine years and up often need help from an orthodontist for teeth straightening that also corrects bruxism.
For a gorgeous smile of your own or for your whole family, call G Orthodontics in Houston at 832-847-6749 or Pearland at 713-677-2258 today. Dr. Garcia and her friendly staff will be happy to talk to you about night guards and teeth alignment during your consultation.