If you grind your teeth at night, the most common treatment is a nightguard, a mouth guard worn to protect your teeth while you sleep.
You might not like the sound of having a device in your mouth.
But if you want relief from the suffering of headaches and pain, and if you want to protect your teeth from damage and other harmful effects, including the possibility of losing some of your teeth — then a custom dental nightguard is the best option for you.
At Advanced Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, we’ve helped many Alpharetta and Atlanta-area residents with their teeth grinding. Maybe our experienced staff noticed worn, flattened areas on their teeth during an oral exam. Or our patients told us about their painful jaws or wondered if they might be grinding or clenching their teeth at night.
We also understand how people may think teeth grinding isn’t that bad. And we understand that people generally aren’t aware of why it’s so important to get a custom mouth guard fitted for their unique mouth.
So we want to help you understand more about this common problem and how we can help you treat it.
Often people aren’t aware they grind their teeth — at least for a while. They might notice a small amount of pain in their jaws or have headaches, but they aren’t sure why. Then their sleeping partner says, “You’ve been waking me up with your annoying grinding of your teeth.”
Or the pain and discomfort keeps getting worse.
If left untreated, teeth grinding (or bruxism as it’s formally called) can cause serious, irreversible damage to your teeth.
If you do suffer from this problem, this means you slide the top and bottom teeth against each other forcefully. Over time, this leads to tooth damage and jaw problems.
If you grind your teeth at night, there’s an average force of 250 pounds of pressure on your teeth. Now that’s a lot of pressure, right?
But you’re not alone. About eight percent of adults grind their teeth. And more than a third of parents report symptoms of teeth grinding in their children.
So if you grind your teeth or suspect you do, you need to take this situation seriously and come see our dental office as soon as possible.
What about teeth grinding in children? While it’s not as serious and is usually something children grow out of by adolescence, it’s still important to have a dental professional check out the mouth of your child if the pain seems to worsen or cause problems.
Your teeth grinding may be caused be a few different things, but for most people, stress is a main cause. If you’ve been feeling anxious or are under a lot of stress regularly, you may be clenching your teeth at night for this reason. Or maybe you have problems with your bite or some crooked or missing teeth.
Wearing a nightguard protects the enamel, the outer layer, of your teeth. And it will also help you establish better jaw positioning to prevent teeth clenching and grinding during the day.
When you get one, you will either wear an upper or a lower guard, depending on which of your teeth have the least wear. But, don’t worry, both sets of teeth will still be protected. And the lighter your grinding is, the thinner your guard will be.
Why a custom nightguard is so important
Custom dental nightguards are the perfect solution for teeth grinding at night. These types of mouth guards are made specifically for you and your mouth. Every mouth is different, so it’s important to have one that fits your mouth perfectly.
A well-made nightguard will do more than protect your teeth. It will also reduce the force exerted by the jaw muscles, so your bones and ligaments don’t become misaligned.
A custom nightguard is the most comfortable, effective way to treat your teeth grinding. Then, you can have good night’s of sleep without pain and without waking up the person sleeping with you.
Other nightguards don’t work as well and may cause further damage
Yes, you can find nightguards at drug stores, pharmacies, and online, but for most people, they won’t be as effective as custom ones — And you might cause further damage to your mouth. In fact, due to their material and how they are made, they can increase the force used by the jaws, which can actually cause the jaws to come out of alignment.
Also, these cheaper mouth guards won’t be very stable. You may even chew right through them. These types of nightguards can also be uncomfortable and bulky. And they may keep falling out.
We’ve heard from people who said they used an over-the-counter mouth guard, but then switched to a custom one and found the difference staggering. Often with these OTC guards, you will continue to suffer from grinding issues.
If you have a bite problem, we can fix that too
If we find a bite problem in your mouth to be causing your teeth grinding, we can use orthodontic treatment to move your teeth back into their proper places.
Then, you will no longer suffer from this often painful and potentially damaging problem.
Stress-management practices can also help
There are many steps you can take yourself to lower your stress and ease the symptoms of teeth grinding.
You may wish to create a more relaxing bedtime routine and a more peaceful environment to sleep in.
You can also try massage and stretching techniques to calm you down and relax your muscles.
Or meditation and yoga may work for you.
Cutting back on coffee and alcohol can help as well.
You can also seek help and get stress counseling. Or consider getting a prescription for muscle relaxants, which you would take before going to sleep.
Nightguards are worth the cost
You might question the cost of a custom nightguard. But over time, bruxism can wear down your teeth so much, that you need dental implants, root canals, bridges, or dentures. And these are definitely not cheap — but certainly necessary — treatments.
Some people also develop problems in their TMJ, the temporomandibular joint (the tiny joint on the side of the head near the ears) and the surrounding muscles, due to wearing a poorly fitted mouth guard.
You could also damage your jaw, suffer from hearing loss, or change the shape of your face.
Now, doesn’t the cost seem worth it and don’t you want an experienced professional to help treat your teeth grinding?
What will happen when you come to our dentist office
First, you will set up an initial consultation with one of our dentists, who will examine your teeth to determine if you have signs of excessive grinding.
Then, we will take impressions of your jaws and have you come back in a few weeks to get your custom-made mouth guard. We may also have you come back after a while to see how it’s working out.
Advanced Cosmetic & Family Dentistry can help soothe your symptoms and protect your teeth
At our Alpharetta dentist office, we give our patients exceptional care. And when you come to us, we will treat you with compassionate care and as little pain as possible.
So if you …
Wake up in the morning and feel tightness
Have pain in the top of your head or in your face
Have tenderness along your jaw
Have generalized tooth pain
Have difficulty opening your mouth
Have teeth that are sensitive to hot or cold temperatures
Or if someone ever told you grind your teeth at night …
then, it’s time to make an appointment with our dental office by calling (678) 551-6864.
Don’t wait any longer. Your teeth are important. And you know a life without pain is always better.
Posted by Advanced Cosmetic and Family Dentistry
4205 North Point Parkway, Building D, Alpharetta, GA 30022
Phone: (678) 551-6864