What Is Bruxism?
Many patients engage in the habit of grinding or clenching their teeth, especially when they sleep. However, this action known as bruxism can cause significant damage to the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) and oral structures, like the teeth and gums, over time. While some patients may be completely unaware that bruxism is occurring, their mouth may hold telltale signs of a teeth grinding habit, such as gum recession, worn enamel, chipped teeth or fillings, or flattened biting edges. They may also wake up in the mornings with headaches, a sore jaw, difficulty opening or closing the mouth, or a range of other concerning symptoms.
To treat cases of bruxism and minimize damage from teeth grinding, our general dentist offers night guard therapy along with additional methods of care. A night guard is a custom appliance fabricated from acrylic or another type of high-quality material that is worn in the mouth on the upper or lower arch and prevents damage to the teeth from a grinding or clenching habit. Bruxism is a condition that can produce mild to severe symptoms and can, in some cases, really impact your comfort and quality of life. If you or a family member may be grinding your teeth at night, talk to our experienced dentist about protecting your smile from the effects of bruxism. Schedule your visit at our Houston, TX facility today and learn if night guard therapy is right for you.
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What Are the Symptoms of Bruxism?
Bruxism can affect patients of all ages and may derive from medical, environmental, or lifestyle factors. However, the precise cause of teeth grinding and clenching is not clear. Though most cases of bruxism occur while the patient is sleeping, gum chewing, nail-biting, and other parafunctional habits may also contribute to the overall effects of a teeth grinding habit. Other sources of bruxism in patients include stress, sleep disorders, misaligned teeth, and genetics. Because bruxism often leads to a range of oral damage, seeking professional care for this issue as soon as possible may be necessary to minimize long-term effects.
During your dental exams at Made Ya Smile Dental West 8, we will look for signs of a bruxism habit and may recommend a custom dental appliance for teeth grinding or other therapeutic modality to restore your health and comfort. We can also help you identify aspects of your life that may be contributing to this habit. Oral conditions, like uneven or worn tooth enamel, TMJ problems, chipped or broken teeth or restorations, and gum recession, may all be indicative of teeth grinding or clenching. Please get in touch with our team if you also have any of these bruxism signs and symptoms:
- Limited jaw opening
- Frequent headaches
- Sore or tired jaw
- Chipped or loose restorations
- Jaw tension or toothaches
- Difficulty biting or chewing
- Sensitive teeth
- Pain in the neck, shoulders, or face
How Is Bruxism Treated?
When you visit Made Ya Smile Dental West 8 for your bruxism consultation or dental exam, we will evaluate your teeth and gums and check your jaw joint function. We will also talk with you about any factors in your life that may be leading to your teeth grinding or clenching habit. A night guard may be recommended to help keep your teeth apart while you sleep and prevent your jaw from being overworked through grinding and clenching actions. Depending on your needs, additional treatments may be recommended to help improve your oral health, such as orthodontic care, bite adjustments, or palliative therapy.
A night guard is worn in the mouth while sleeping and is designed to fit over either the upper or lower teeth securely but in a comfortable way. It will hold your teeth apart and prevent you from grinding while maintaining your jaw in a more favorable position. If we recommend a night guard, a team member will take impressions of your mouth, which a special dental lab will use to make your custom bruxism appliance. High-quality material, such as acrylic, is used to fabricate your night guard for enhanced durability. After your night guard arrives in our facility, we will schedule you to come in for a fitting. We will make any necessary adjustments to make sure your appliance fits properly and show you how to remove and place it within your mouth.
How Can I Care for My Bruxism Mouth Guard?
Maintaining your night guard by cleaning it after each use and storing it properly when you are not wearing it can help ensure it serves your smile for a long time to come. Wearing your appliance can also protect your oral structures and reduce jaw damage and discomfort. Please be sure to continue using your custom night guard, even when your symptoms are alleviated. This is very important to help protect your teeth, gums, and jaw joints. Maintaining routine care for your smile through regular cleanings and exams is also important to your overall health and wellness. When you visit Made Ya Smile Dental West 8 for your appointments, be sure to bring your night guard with you so that we can monitor the fit and clean it in our professional solutions.
To comprehensively meet your needs, our team may also suggest palliative therapies for use at home, including anti-inflammatory medications, moist heat and cold compresses, or exercises and stretches for muscles in your head and neck region. Avoiding gum, nail-biting, ice crunching, and foods like bagels and nuts that put extra strain on the jaw may minimize your symptoms. We may also give other tips on how to release tension in the face and neck and relax the muscles that support your jaw.
Are Night Guards Covered by Insurance?
Certain dental insurance policies may offer some coverage for bruxism appliances. We will review your specific dental insurance plan and calculate any personal costs for your night guard therapy. Made Ya Smile Dental West 8 wants you and your family to enjoy healthy, comfortable smiles and is pleased to accept several payment types to help make your care that much more affordable and easy to obtain. If you do not carry insurance or have personal expenses, talk to us today about low-cost and interest-free financing solutions.
Protect Your Smile Against Teeth Grinding
A sore, tired jaw and recurring headaches in the morning may signal a teeth grinding and clenching habit. Bruxism can affect your oral health and wellness in a number of ways, from broken teeth to uncomfortable TMJ problems. Partner with us to learn if a night guard appliance or other personalized treatment options can improve your comfort and living quality. Find relief from bruxism symptoms by scheduling your consultation at Made Ya Smile Dental West 8 in Houston, TX right away.