Have you ever gone to work or to school with a headache in the morning? This could be an indication that you have been grinding your teeth overnight, which is a condition or behavior called bruxism. Teeth grinding can cause chronic pain in the head, neck or ears. It can cause even more serious problems with your teeth and jaw if left untreated. A custom-fitted night guard from your orthodontist in Melbourne, FL, can be the first line of defense in correcting bruxism.
What Causes Bruxism or Teeth Grinding?
The scientific literature suggests that stress and anxiety are strongly linked to nighttime bruxism. There’s even evidence that genetic anxiety disorders can lead to multiple generations in a family having bruxism. Emotions like stress, anxiety, anger, frustration or tension can lead to daytime or nighttime teeth grinding.
What Are the Symptoms of Bruxism?
Most people who grind their teeth at night don’t even realize they are doing it. Forcefully grinding the teeth can lead to headaches and pains. Migraines, noise sensitivity and tinnitus can also result from bruxism. When untreated, the condition will eventually start to wear down the enamel on your teeth. This can lead to cavities, cracked teeth, and even periodontal disease. In a worst-case scenario, a total joint replacement of the patient’s jaw might be needed. Wearing a night guard is one of the steps your orthodontist will recommend to help alleviate these potential, more serious problems.
A Custom Night Guard Can Help
Our office can create a custom night guard that fits perfectly over your teeth. The device cushions the teeth from grinding and keeps some space between them while sleeping. This prevents you from further chipping or wearing away at the enamel on your teeth.
A night guard can also slightly realign the teeth for people who suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). By realigning the teeth into the proper position while sleeping, a night guard can reduce some of the pain and discomfort caused by TMJ. This is a more affordable and non-invasive method of treating the condition.
Night Guards vs. Over-the-Counter Appliances
The old adage, “You get what you pay for” certainly applies to night guards. When it comes to quality, durability and effectiveness, there is really no comparison between custom orthodontic night guards and the cheap over-the-counter “boil and bite” night guards. Over-the-counter night guards will not fit as well as a custom-made one. This makes it more likely that the OTC version will slip out of your mouth at night, defeating the whole purpose.
Custom night guards are made of more durable materials. They will last longer than an OTC guard. A bruxism patient is likely to grind right through their over-the-counter guard.
The Process for Getting a Night Guard
It usually takes at least two appointments to get you fitted with a custom night guard. During the first visit, an exact mold is made of your teeth. That mold is sent to the laboratory and used to create the night guard, so that it fits exactly the way that your Melbourne orthodontist recommends. Once the night guard is returned from the lab, the doctor will check to see that it fits perfectly and comfortably on a second appointment. Then you simply wear it when you sleep at night.
Wearing a custom night guard will not affect your breathing while you sleep. You will still be able to sleep normally while wearing it. It may feel a little bit awkward at first, as you get used to the night guard, but most people adjust very quickly to wearing one. The fact that it makes those morning headaches and other problems go away quickly is a big help!
Contact Melbourne Orthodontics in Melbourne, FL
If you have a tendency to wake up with pain in your neck, head, jaw or ears, it could be a sign that you are grinding your teeth at night. Contact us in Melbourne to schedule an appointment, and we will determine whether a night guard could be the solution to these problems.