Signs That You Need A Night Guard
Bruxism is a condition that is characterized by the clenching or grinding of teeth. This action is often involuntary and the patient is rarely aware of what they are doing. Unless they use a nightguard, the reality is that people who grind their teeth can significantly harm their health after a prolonged period of time. Often, bruxism is a reaction to stress and anxiety which may provide some psychological relief in the short term but can cause significant dental damage in the long run.
Effects of Bruxism
There are many long-term effects of bruxism that are detrimental to your health. Some of these include the gradual weakening of teeth making them susceptible to fracture and breakage. Grinding teeth over a long period of time wears down the enamel that protects the tooth and may lead to the exposure of the gum tissue as the tooth wears down. This makes the patient susceptible to gum disease which may eventually lead to loss of teeth and other infections. Dentists will often notice the damage to the teeth during regular dental exams and recommend a nightguard that prevents the patient from grinding their teeth. Here are some of the signs that would let you know you or a loved one needs a nightguard.
Even though you may not be aware that you grind your teeth during the night, one of the tell-tale signs that you do is when you wake up in the morning with a headache. These kinds of headaches will typically be felt on the back and on the sides of the head. This is because the grinding creates pressure from your clenched jaws that translates to the headaches. If you experience such headaches over a period of time, it might be a good idea to try and night guard and see if it makes a difference.
As the problem continues, people who grind their teeth at night might notice that the structure of their teeth begins to change. Typically, the patient might notice that cracks may form on their teeth and that the shape of their teeth begins to change. This is caused by the wear and tear that is caused by the constant grinding.
Development of TMJ Disorder
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the one that hinges the jaw to the skull, allowing you to open your mouth easily. Constant grinding of the teeth directly affects this jaw and there is a chance that the patient may develop TMJ Disorder. Victims of this disorder experience pain when opening their mouths or when they make any jaw movement. In advanced stages, the patient may even be unable to open or close their mouths. When diagnosed with TMJ Disorder, it is often likely that your dentist will recommend trying out night guards. If the TMJ disorder is caused by the grinding of teeth, the victim is likely to notice a reduction in the TMJ Disorder symptoms.
Facial and Soreness
Another tell-tale sign of bruxism is when one wakes up with jaw pain and facial soreness. Your jaw may feel stiff for the most part of that day and one may experience pain when chewing any kind of food. If you are experiencing any of these problems, it is also a good idea to contact a qualified dentist who will help you on how to ease the discomfort as well as treat the underlying condition.