Grinding (and clenching) your teeth when you sleep is called bruxism, and it has various causes. But according to the U.K. based Bruxism Association, nearly 70% of sleep teeth grinding stems from stress or anxiety. Other contributing factors include sleep apnea, smoking, caffeine or alcohol consumption, or taking medications for sleep, depression, and anxiety.
While technically there is no “cure” for bruxism, you can wear a night guard to protect your teeth and jaw while you sleep. Wearing a night guard can help save your pearly whites from the destructive effects of teeth grinding, because over time, bruxism can cause your teeth to flatten, fracture, loosen, increase tooth sensitivity, feel pain from grinding to the nerve, gum recession, and even tooth loss. Left untreated, this constant wear and tear on your teeth can lead to a need for bridges, crowns, root canals, dental implants, partial or complete dentures (depending on the severity). It can even cause or worsen TMD (temporomandibular disorder) or TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain, or changing the appearance of your face.
Over-the-counter mouth guards available in stores tend to be large, fit poorly and are unattractive (which matters if you don’t sleep alone). A custom-made night guard created by your dentist, on the other hand, is fitted perfectly to your bite, whether it is a full mouth guard that protects all of your teeth, or one which covers your front teeth.
Custom-made night guards cost more than store-bought guards, but even so, they are less costly than repairing the damage done by teeth grinding over time. Left untreated, bruxism can damage our teeth to the point of needing dental bridges, crowns, root canals, dental implants, partial or complete dentures. And finally, dental insurances often cover some or all of the cost of custom night guards.
Our skilled dentist, Dr. Jacqueline S. Reid and her team are pleased to provide night guards for our patients in Chatham, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Are you ready to find relief for your night-time teeth grinding? If so, we invite you to call our team at 973.635.9456 today!