Teeth grinding — also known as bruxism — and clenching your jaw, especially during times of stress, is fairly normal and can happen to anyone from time to time. If you’ve ever woken up with pain or stiffness in your jaw or face in the morning, chances are that you were grinding or clenching in your sleep.
While occasional episodes of teeth grinding are normal, the habit can cause a number of issues over time, from temporomandibular joint dysfunction and damage to your teeth, to stiffness in your jaw and headaches. You may not be able to control what happens while you sleep, but a mouth guard can offer a layer of support and protection for your teeth and jaw throughout the night.
At Haider Family Dentistry in Salem, Oregon, Dr. Jeremy Haider and our dental team offer custom mouth guards to help you take control of your teeth grinding habit once and for all, protecting your teeth and preventing those headaches.
Protect your teeth with mouth guards
Because a number of factors can cause headaches and pain or soreness in your face and jaw, it can take awhile to identify teeth grinding as the culprit. In fact, many people don’t even know they’ve been grinding their teeth in their sleep, sometimes for years, until a dental exam reveals wear-and-tear on the teeth.
Custom mouth guards — also referred to as night guards — protect your teeth from friction and wear-and-tear while you sleep. A custom mouth guard is designed specifically for you. We take an impression of your teeth and bite pattern, so it provides superior protection and better support than a one-size-fits-all store-bought version.
Custom made dental appliances like mouth guards also tend to be more comfortable and easier to wear, so that you can just slip it on right before bed and forget about it while you sleep.
How to know when you need a night guard
The American Dental Association (ADA) estimates that as many as 15% of Americans grind or clench their teeth. In addition to headaches, other signs of bruxism include pain, stiffness, or soreness in your neck and jaw.
Some people experience what feels like an earache. Your teeth may also start to feel sensitive to hot and cold over time due to gum recession and enamel erosion. Bruxism can also disrupt your sleep.
However, many people are unaware of their teeth grinding habit, so the best way to protect your teeth and gums from damage and to catch the problem as early as possible is through regular dental checkups — the ADA recommends that most people get a checkup every six months to a year.
Depending on the extent of damage to your teeth, you may also need a restorative or cosmetic procedure like a dental filling or a crown to address problems with lost tooth surface and function.
For more information about custom mouth guards and the general and cosmetic dentistry services available at Haider Family Dentistry, contact us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Haider.