There are many people who experience night-time teeth grinding, or bruxism, while they sleep. This common occurrence arises for several reasons, although the main culprit appears to be stress and anxiety, according to the U.K. based Bruxism Association, which found that nearly 70% of sleep teeth grinding arises from stress or anxiety. Additional causes include sleep apnea, smoking, caffeine or alcohol consumption, and even taking medications for sleep, depression, and anxiety.
Although there is no actual “cure” for bruxism, there is treatment available to help protect your pearly whites. Wearing a night guard can help save your teeth from the damaging effects of bruxism over time. If bruxism is allowed to go unchecked, it can eventually cause your teeth to flatten, fracture, loosen, have tooth sensitivity, pain from grinding to the tooth nerve, gum recession, and even tooth loss. This can lead to a need for bridges, crowns, root canals, dental implants, partial or complete dentures, depending on the severity. It can also cause, or worsen, TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder) or TMJ (temporomandibular joint) pain, and change the appearance of your face.
Over-the-counter mouth guards you buy in the store are typically large, fit poorly and are unattractive. A custom-made night guard created by your dentist, however, is designed specifically for your bite. Whether you need a mouth guard that fully protects your teeth, or a guard to cover just your front teeth, your dentist can create it specifically for your situation and your bite. Custom-made night guards may cost more than store-bought varieties, but considering the tooth problems you will be avoiding down the road–bridges, crowns, root canals, dental implants, partial or complete dentures–they are still more economical.
Dental insurances also often cover some or all of the cost of custom-made nightguards. Our dentist, Dr. Jeanine Nordeen is pleased to provide night guards for our patients in Lacey Washington and the surrounding areas. So if you are looking for relief for your night-time teeth grinding, we invite you to call our Smiles Dental team at 360.339.7499 today!