Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common condition that can have serious consequences for the state of your oral and overall health. Bruxism can wear down the chewing surfaces of your teeth and lead to cavities, dental sensitivity, headaches, and jaw pain. Dr. Victor R. Siegel in Rockville, MD, can fit you with a custom mouth guard for teeth grinding to protect your teeth from damage and relieve the pain and discomfort associated with bruxism.
What is Bruxism?
Teeth grinding is the habit of tightly clenching your teeth or continuously rubbing them together. It typically occurs while you sleep, though some individuals do grind their teeth during the day. According to the American Sleep Association, bruxism affects nearly 10 percent of the population, and as many as 15 percent of children, however many cases go undetected.
Signs of Teeth Grinding
You may not be aware that you grind your teeth. Often, your bed partner is the first person to notice as they hear the grinding noise as you sleep. Your dentist may also notice the negative side effects of bruxism, like worn teeth or broken dental work.
Some signs that you may be grinding your teeth include:
- Tight or painful jaw muscles
- Persistent pain in the lower section of the face
- Pain in the jaw joint
- A dull morning headache
- Broken fillings, injured gums, or damaged teeth
- Rhythmic jaw contractions
Some instances of bruxism are accompanied by swelling on the side of the lower jaw, as chronic clenching causes the jaw muscles to enlarge.
Treating Bruxism with a Mouth Guard
There are a variety of suspected causes of bruxism, including stress, bite misalignments, or medicinal side effects. In most cases, a mouth guard can protect your teeth and prevent grinding from leading to more serious complications. Also called a night guard, this device is made up of plastic trays that cover either the top or bottom set of teeth. The goal of the guard is to cushion your teeth from the force exerted while clenching and prevent your molars from grinding together.
With a custom appliance, you are more likely to experience a comfortable night’s sleep and wake up without oral pain or discomfort.
Some patients opt for a pre-made boil-and-bite model from the pharmacy. However, a custom-made night guard created at our office is designed by Dr. Siegel to fit comfortably in your mouth. An ill-fitting mouth guard can cause irritation or dental misalignment. With a custom appliance, you are more likely to experience a comfortable night’s sleep and wake up without oral pain or discomfort.
Protect Your Oral Health
Left untreated, grinding your teeth can lead to serious oral health complications. When teeth become too worn, there is a higher chance of decay advancing to the point where root canal therapy is necessary. You can also cause serious damage to your jaw, leading to the development of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Dr. Siegel and his team can create a custom mouth guard to protect your oral health and improve your quality of life. To find out more, contact our office online or call (301) 963-4330 and schedule a consultation today.