Do I Really Need a Nightguard?

Do you grind your teeth while you sleep? Do you constantly suffer from headaches or jaw pain caused by clenching your teeth? If you suffer from bruxism, then you do need a nightguard. 

Wearing a mouth guard at night will help keep your teeth from grinding and your jaw from clenching. A nightguard will protect your teeth and keep them from excessive wear. It can also prevent temporomandibular joint pain (TMJ syndrome). 


Do You Suffer From Bruxism?

Bruxism is a medical term for a condition where people grind or clench their teeth and jaw. Grinding is the back-and-forth movement of the jaw, while clenching describes biting down with force for long. Bruxism is a relatively common condition, usually occurring when the person is asleep or under great stress. 

Most people do not realize that they grind their teeth during sleep until someone else points it out. Over time, grinding results in extensive damage to the enamel and structure of the teeth. This can cause decay, tooth sensitivity, headaches, and jaw pain.


What Causes Bruxism?

The exact cause of the condition is not known, but bruxism may be caused by physical, genetic, and psychological factors. Some people experience bruxism during the day and at night. Daytime bruxism is usually associated with experiencing intense emotions. 

These emotions include anger, stress, fear, anxiety, tension, and frustration. Bruxism has often been associated with several health conditions. These include:

  • Epilepsy.
  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Sleep apnea.


Factors That Increase Bruxism

Several factors contribute to the development of bruxism. The factors include age, personality, certain substances and medications, intense emotions, and certain health conditions. Children are more likely to develop bruxism. 

The condition is most common among people who tend to be aggressive, hyperactive, or competitive. Some people grind their teeth when they are angry or frustrated, or when under great stress. Substances such as tobacco, caffeine, and some medications can increase the risk of developing bruxism.


How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

There are things that you can do to stop grinding your teeth. Avoid smoking, especially before you go to bed, and limit consumption of alcohol and coffee. You can also learn some relaxation techniques, using them before going to bed or when you are stressed. Meditating, listening to soothing music, relaxing in a hot bath, and going for a walk can help.


A Custom Nightguard

A nightguard is a device worn over the teeth to keep them from clenching or grinding. The nightguard does not necessarily stop you from grinding but it acts as a shield, protecting the teeth. A custom nightguard fits snugly over the teeth, cushioning them from excess wear. It helps re-establish the required space between the lower and upper teeth. 

If you experience headaches in the morning or TMJ pain, a nightguard will offer some relief. The nightguard can prevent teeth damage or damage to dental restorations such as crowns. A custom-fitted guard is comfortable because it fits properly and is made from the best materials. 

For more on nightguards, visit Clarity Dental Center for Implant and Family Dentistry at our office in Federal Way, Washington. You can call (253) 799-1490 to schedule an appointment today.

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