What are Night/Occlusal Guards?
Nightguards are appliances that are typically custom made by a dental professional. They’re made by imaging your mouth and using that imaging to create a plaster cast of the patient’s teeth. Then, a custom mold is made so that it fits the patient’s mouth perfectly. While occlusal guards are sold in stores, these are not nearly as effective nor as comfortable as custom made guards will be. We recommend that you always take the custom option as bruxism can have highly damaging effects on the teeth and jaw musculature.
What is Bruxism?
Did you know that around 25 million Americans unknowingly grind their teeth or clench their jaw at night? While this seems like a fairly benign issue, it’s actually quite detrimental to the teeth and jaw. Bruxism is considered a sleep-movement disorder and it is often the case that it is accompanied by other sleep issues such as sleep apnea. Because bruxism is difficult to detect—especially if the person lives alone.
People who have sleep bruxism will grind their teeth and clench their jaw hard enough to make noise at night. It can often be loud enough to wake a partner up, which is why it typically goes undiagnosed in those who live or sleep alone until complications appear. These complications are things such as teeth that are flattened or fractured. A big problem is when tooth enamel becomes worn down and the teeth are weakened in their protection against cavities. Because of that, as well as tenderness, the person will experience sensitivity and increased tooth pain.
Additionally, due to the constant grinding and clenching, jaw problems ensue. The jaw musculature can become tight as well as weakened due to constant tension. This tension inevitably contributes to a constant dull headache that the person will experience often. Since much of this musculature is connected, jaw pain and tightness can also lead to increased tension in the neck and shoulders which will, in turn, contribute more to headaches and jaw pain.
The worst of these will be TMJD, which is temporomandibular joint disorder. The TMJ is a joint in your jaw where your jaw meets the side of your head. It is essentially the hinge of your jaw, and with the constant grinding of bruxism, this joint becomes worn down and weak and starts to click and cause pain. Issues with this joint may cause difficulties opening your mouth uniformly (depending on which side is worn) and can cause your jaw to lock up.
It isn’t clear what causes bruxism to appear, but it can be attributed to a combination of physical and emotional/psychological factors as opposed to just one cause such as a physical or hereditary factor. Increased stress or anxiety can certainly lead to teeth grinding.
Custom Night Guards in New Jersey
Are you tired of the constant headaches and jaw pain that comes along with helplessly grinding your teeth at night? Dr. Bruce Freund is a dentist in Bergen County, New Jersey that has been practicing for over 25 years. He graduated from New York University College of Dentistry. If you need someone to create accurate and comfortable occlusal guards to prevent tooth and jaw damage from bruxism, Dr. Freund and his highly experienced staff will make sure you receive the best care possible using the latest and most advanced imaging and precautionary techniques. To get started today, visit our contact page or give us a call at (201)-568-0606.