One of the results of stress in our lives is we actually tend to clench and grind. So a lot of times people will be clenching and grinding at night, sometimes during the day, and the issue is they can have headaches. They can wake up in the morning with sore jaws, or other problems that arise from that. The other issue from the clinical side, I see a lot of teeth that start to be fractured. There can be fractures, cracks in those teeth, sometimes those teeth can break over time because of that extra wear that we’re doing on those. So the teeth aren’t designed to grind and clench, they’re designed to eat food. So when that’s not happening, that’s when we’re having problems with those.
One of the treatments for that is doing a night guard. It’s an acrylic piece that actually has kevlar in it so it actually is very strong and they last 15-20 years, sometimes even longer depending on how we care for that. But what it does is it prevents the teeth from coming together and grinding and clenching back and forth. It’s an object that stays in between there. It is very comfortable, over time it is something that you will obviously get used to, like anything. It took me some time to get used to it but it has actually helped me as well. So that’s why I am a firm believer that it can help many people, and also prevent those fractures from happening. Nobody wants to have crowns. I don’t want to do crowns on everybody’s teeth. If we can prevent that from happening then we’ve won.
If you grind or clench your teeth at night (called bruxism), you are at risk for a number of dental issues. Cracked Tooth Syndrome, TMJ, chronic headaches, and other issues can all be linked to bruxism. Luckily, Anderson Dental Care has a simple solution to protect your teeth and prevent chronic pain: a mouth guard.
If you’re not sure if you have bruxism, you should make an appointment with your dentist immediately. Your dentist will be able to assess the condition of your teeth and look for the telltale signs of teeth-grinding.
Bruxism that is not corrected quickly can cause the development of other serious problems. Specifically these are Cracked Tooth Syndrome and TMD (temporomandibular disorder, sometimes called TMJ).
Cracked Tooth Syndrome (CTS) is the occurrence of small fissures or cracks in your teeth. These fissures can range in depth: some may be entirely superficial and limited to the tooth’s surface, others may go down as far as the center of the tooth, leaving the dental pulp (the tiny organ made of nerves and other tissues that provides nutrients and other important functions for the tooth) exposed to infection. CTS occurs in the lower molars for the most part; these are the teeth that bear most of the impact and pressure of chewing (and teeth grinding). CTS can also occur in parts of the teeth that are hidden below the gum line.
If you have been diagnosed with Cracked Tooth Syndrome in the past, it increases your likelihood of experiencing further fracturing of your teeth. However, CTS can be difficult to diagnose: symptoms differ from patient to patient (ranging from occasional pain or temperature sensitivity, or sensitivity to specific foods and beverages all the way up to teeth that feel very loose). When symptoms occur, they do so inconsistently, further complicating diagnosis. On top of all that, the cracks are often so fine and small that they may not even show up on X-rays.
Obviously, it is best to prevent CTS before it happens!
TMD (for temporomandibular joint Disorder; TMJ is the abbreviation for the joint itself) is a problem that is caused by misalignment of the jaws. TMD has many causes, but bruxism is one of the largest contributors of cases. TMD can make it difficult or painful to open your mouth, and can even lock it in the opened or closed position. However, most people experience TMD in the form of chronic headaches and other pain.
A night guard can stop the bruxism that can either lead to or worsen TMD, and it can even help to reposition the jaws to reduce its symptoms.
Our custom night-time mouth guards are built to fit your teeth. These guards will cushion your mouth and prevent the grinding of your teeth and jaw that causes discomfort, pain, and tooth damage.
Over-the-counter mouth guards are available, but this type of guard isn’t nearly as effective as one shaped especially for you. Commercially available mouth guards tend to fit poorly, and some are so soft that they can be worn away by continued grinding. Don’t risk your dental health on an over-the-counter solution! Let us create a mouth guard that will prevent the problem from continuing.
While you can get a night guard over-the-counter, you should know that a good fit (which is only possible with a custom-made nightguard specifically for your teeth) is critical to the effectiveness of these appliances. Furthermore, over-the-counter night guards are often made of materials that don’t last or provide much protection. The night guards at Anderson Dental Care are made of kevlar, the same material used to make safety equipment like bulletproof vests!
Store-bought mouthguards may be cheaper, but ultimately they are a lesser product that is less effective at treating the problem it was designed to address. Your best value and your best oral health are at stake!
Our nightguards are able to last as long as 15 – 20 years, because they are made of tough, durable kevlar, and their superior, custom fit will reduce the occurrence of wear.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms and suspect you might be suffering from bruxism, TMD, or CTS, you should come in immediately for an appointment. Your problem will only get worse, and if that happens you may have to undergo intensive procedures such as root canal or even the extraction of teeth that have become too damaged to save.