The Dangers of Bruxism: What Grinding Does to Your Teeth
Most people who grind their teeth at night don’t even realize they’re doing it. But bruxism (the medical term for teeth grinding) can cause a lot of damage to your teeth. Over time, it can wear down your tooth enamel, crack or chip your teeth, cause jaw pain and headaches, and even lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
In short, it’s not something you want to ignore! If you think you might be grinding your teeth at night, talk to your dentist. They’ll be able to diagnose the problem and recommend a treatment.
How to Know If You Have Night Bruxism?
There are a few tell-tale signs that you might have bruxism. Does any of these sound true for you?
- You wake up with a headache or sore jaw.
- Your partner tells you that you grind your teeth at night.
- You have broken teeth and don’t know how it happened.
- Your dentist notices wear on your teeth.
- You have trouble opening or closing your mouth.
If any of these sound familiar, it’s time to see your dentist. They can help you figure out whether you have bruxism and what to do about it. If you already know you have bruxism, read on to learn about occlusal guards!
Occlusal Guards – For People Who Grind Their Teeth
An occlusal guard is a custom-fitted mouth guard that you wear at night to protect your teeth from grinding or clenching. It’s made of vinyl, light-cured composite, soft acrylic or resin, and it covers your upper or lower teeth (or both). It’s different from a regular mouthguard because it’s made to fit your teeth exactly, so it’s more comfortable and effective.
In order to obtain an occlusal guard, you’ll need to visit a dentist. They will take an impression of your teeth and use it to create a model. From there, they will create a custom occlusal guard that fits your mouth perfectly.
The Benefits of Wearing an Occlusal Guard
Wearing an occlusal guard at night can help protect your teeth from the damage of grinding. It can also help relieve jaw pain and headaches. If you already have TMD, an occlusal guard can help prevent it from getting worse.
In short, there are many good reasons to wear an occlusal guard! If you think you might need one, contact a dental office. You won’t regret it.
Dental Orthotics – For Those Who Suffer From TMD
If you already have TMD (temporomandibular disorder), your dentist may recommend dental orthotics instead of (or in addition to) a bite guard. Dental orthotics are also custom-fitted, but they do more than just protect your teeth. They also realign your bite and help relieve pressure on your jaw.
Like occlusal guards, dental orthotics are made from impressions of your teeth. But the process is a bit more complicated, so it’s best to leave it to the professionals. These appliances can relieve the pain and help you get your life back!
How Much Does an Occlusal Guard Cost?
The cost of an occlusal guard varies depending on the materials used and the complexity of the design. In general, though, you can expect to pay between $300 and $1,000 for an occlusal guard. It can be a costly investment, but it’s worth it to protect your teeth.
Dental orthotics are even more expensive, costing between $800 and $3,500. The price will depend on the severity of your TMD and the complexity of the design. Unfortunately, most dental insurance plans don’t cover the cost of adult orthodontics.
Should You Get an Occlusal Guard?
If you grind your teeth or have TMD, an occlusal guard or dental orthotics can help. Talk to your dentist to see if one of these devices is right for you. It may be the best decision you ever make! Keep in mind that occlusal guards and dental orthotics are a long-term investment, so be sure to take care of them. With proper care, they can last for years.
How Long Does a Night Guard Last?
With proper care, a night guard can last for years. Be sure to clean it regularly and store it in a cool, dry place when you’re not using it. If you have severe bruxism, you may need to replace your occlusal guard more often.
Dental orthotics are even more durable, lasting anywhere from five to ten years. Again, be sure to take care of them by cleaning them regularly and storing them in a safe place.
How to Stop Teeth Grinding and Clenching – Other Remedies
In addition to occlusal guards and dental orthotics, there are other ways to stop teeth grinding and clenching. Here are a few things you can try:
- Relaxation exercises: These can help relieve stress and tension, which may be causing you to grind your teeth.
- Biofeedback devices: These devices measure muscle activity and help you learn to relax your jaw.
- Massaging your jaw muscles: This can help relieve soreness and tension.
- Botox injections: Botox can help relax the muscles in your jaw and relieve facial pain.
- Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese practice may help relieve tension and pain.
None of these methods are guaranteed to work, but they may help you find relief. Talk to your dentist about what options are available to you. It never hurts to try!
Example Relaxation Exercises
Here are a few relaxation exercises that may help you stop teeth grinding and clenching:
- Jaw release: Open your mouth wide and then let your jaw drop. Repeat this several times.
- Shoulder roll: Raise your shoulders to your ears and then roll them back and down. Repeat this several times.
- Neck stretch: Gently tilt your head to the side and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on the other side.
These exercises may help you relax and reduce stress. Try doing them a few times a day, especially when you feel yourself getting tense.
Conclusion: Night Guards Can Help Protect Your Teeth
In conclusion, occlusal guards are custom-made, removable cushions for teeth grinding and clenching. If you think you need one of these devices, talk to your dentist. They can help you find the right occlusal guard or dental orthotics for your needs. Don’t suffer from bruxing or TMD any longer – get the treatment you need!
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