Symptoms and solutions for involuntarily teeth grinding. Otherwise known as bruxism
When we talk about bruxism, we mean more than the occasional clenched jaw or gritted teeth. Every case is unique, and while there are different reasons for bruxism, it kind of boils down to one of two things: bite misalignment or stress. In the case of stress, grinding your teeth in your sleep releases feel-good endorphins, which tends to become a self-fulfilling habit. After all, who doesn’t want to feel good?
To decrease your stress levels, find ways to relax before bedtime:
- Gentle stretching,
- a good soak in the tub or a hot shower can help,
- Reducing your alcohol or caffeine intake, especially before bed, can also help.
However, grinding as a result of a bite misalignment requires corrective action to bring your bite into more normal alignment.
The problem is that grinding your teeth damages them—over time it adds up to substantial wear and tear. When you grind your teeth night after night, you can grind off dental enamel or develop temporomandibular joint syndrome. Left uncontrolled, bruxism can lead to enough tooth damage to warrant implants, crowns, or dentures. You could also experience cracked teeth, periodontal disease (bone loss around the roots of your teeth), or even tooth loss.
A night guard doesn’t prevent grinding or clenching. Instead, it’s a removable dental appliance that fits over your teeth to protect them from the nightly grind. You wear them during the night when you are asleep.
While it may be tempting just to buy an over-the-counter guard, it’s important to remember that they tend to be thicker than custom-fit guards. That extra thickness seems to make sense until you consider that it could cause misalignment of your bite (or exacerbate an existing bite problem) and do more harm than good.
Clear Aligners for bruxism: Custom-made night guards.
Custom-made night guards, somewhat like a Clear Aligner, are made to wear during your sleep and buffer your teeth from the damage of the grinding. They tend to be thinner than over-the-counter products, too. When you use a custom-fit guard, custom made for you here at Dr. Mario Garita MP Dental Experience Clinic, it will be more comfortable and beneficial than any you might buy at a drug store.
In minor bruxism cases or occasional instances of grinding, a custom-fit guard could improve your bite alignment, something store-bought guards won’t do.
It’s important to remember that unless your bruxism is the result of stress, you’ll still need to take action to correct your bite to eliminate the underlying cause.
At Mario Garita MP Dental Experience Clinic, we can advise you on potential solutions and create a customized treatment plan for a permanent solution. Reach out today to schedule an appointment.