Night Guards for Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Do you need a night guard? Consult our experienced dentist. Book your appointment at Impact Dental Care, Lorton. Call now 703-952-6600 or Schedule Online.

IMPACT DENTAL CARE dental night guard

Bruxism is also known as grinding and/or clenching of your teeth. It is a very common condition that affects approximately 30 million to 40 million children and adults in the U.S. The condition has also been linked to poor sleep quality and duration. While there is no cure for bruxism, many sleepers find relief using specialized mouth guards that reduce grinding and clenching during the night.

Each night guard is custom-made for the most comfortable fit and the best protection. Please call our office to learn more, or schedule an appointment online today.

Signs & Symptoms

If you notice any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing bruxism:

  • Rhythmic contractions of the jaw muscles
  • A grinding sound at night
  • Jaw muscles that are tight or painful
  • Long-lasting pain in the face
  • Swelling (occasionally) on the side of your lower jaw caused by clenching
  • Frequently wake up with a sore jaw, a dull headache or tooth pain
  • Extremely worn tooth enamel, exposing the inner layers of the tooth
  • Increased tooth sensitivity
  • Chronic jaw pain, facial pain, and ear pain
  • Awakening with a tired or tight feeling in the jaw
  • Frequent tension headaches and migraines
  • Indentations on the side of the tongue

Effects of Bruxism

Premature loss of enamel: Constant grinding can remove layers of your enamel, making them more susceptible to sensitivity and tooth decay/cavities.

Fractured teeth: Teeth can cave to the unrelenting pressure of grinding and end up cracked or fractured, requiring professional treatment or even extraction.

Yellowed teeth: The best way to make your teeth look whiter is to prevent yellowing or discoloration from occurring. Grinding can prematurely age teeth, accelerating their yellowing and worsening their aesthetics.

Gum recession: Depending on your size, grinding can exert 400-600 pounds of force per square inch of tooth surface. This pressure can push the gums away from the teeth and cause irreversible recession that can then lead to decay as bacteria settles into the recessed space. Gum recession can also lead to sensitivity.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD): Grinding teeth also puts a lot of pressure in the temporomandibular joint, which can lead to TMD. TMD is also sometimes called TMJ disorder, and the disorder can cause ongoing pain in the joint, clicking or popping of the jaw, as well as difficulty chewing.

Common cause of grinding

Misaligned teeth: If your teeth aren’t lined up correctly, it can cause your jaw to be unstable and lead to teeth grinding. Especially if you’ve recently had a tooth extracted or had other major dental work done, you may want to talk to your dentist about misalignment as a possible cause of your teeth grinding.

Medication: Certain medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics, seem to cause teeth grinding in some patients.

Sleep apnea: Studies are beginning to link sleep apnea and teeth grinding. When someone is experiencing an apnea, during which the airway has relaxed to the point of obstruction during sleep, the response of thrusting the jaw and grinding is how the body reopens the airways.

Are they comfortable to wear?

Yes, night guards are incredibly comfortable because they are designed using your measurements and exact specifications. The material used is durable, yet comfortable enough to wear at night, without interrupting your sleep.

Are night guards the same as athletic guards

No, night guards and athletic or sports guards are different devices with different purposes. An athletic guard is made to be worn only while you’re participating in your sport, and it provides protection from impact-related injuries to your teeth, jaws, and mouth. Night guards are made to be worn for longer periods, and they’re designed to provide cushioning to the surfaces of teeth where they meet. You should wear both guards only for their intended purposes.

Another way to keep your guard in good shape is to brush it regularly. Cleaning it is relatively easy. All you need to do is brush it with a soft toothbrush, toothpaste, and lukewarm water. This should remove the plaque that has built up on it. Additionally, you can try a special dental solution and soak it once per week. Be sure to dry it afterwards to prevent any bacteria buildup.

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