If you find yourself constantly waking up with a dull headache, tooth pain or a sore jaw, you may want to go to your dentist to see if you’re suffering from bruxism.
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a dental condition that affects as many as 1 out of 10 adults and in rare cases, may also affect children and teenagers. Common symptoms of bruxism include neck pain, jaw pain, headache, and tooth pain.
The most common means of alleviating the pain that comes with bruxism is taking care of the teeth grinding itself, which usually happens while one is sleeping, by wearing a dental appliance known as a night guard.
Night guards are available at most pharmacies and can be bought without a prescription. To use, the appliance is boiled, left to cool for a few seconds and then worn for it to shape according to one’s own teeth. Though, for a better-fitting and more durable, albeit more expensive, night guard, you can buy one directly from your dentist.
Regardless of the type of night guard you’re wearing, the main function remains the same and it’s to prevent the damage done by the constant grinding of your teeth while you’re asleep.
Save from the added protection, wearing night guards also carry other benefits, such as:
- Lesser pain and discomfort when you wake up. While the main purpose of wearing a night guard is to protect your teeth from further damage, these dental appliances can also make a huge difference for patients who complain about sore jaws, muscle fatigue and spasms, ear aches, neck pain and other types of pain commonly associated with bruxism.
- Improved sleep patterns. Because of how night guards minimize common bruxism symptoms, they also help improve your once-disrupted sleeping patterns. The mouth guard helps improve the position of your jaws to make it easier for your muscle to relax and helping you avoid that stress-filled sleep that you’ve come to get used to thanks to bruxism.
Alternative Treatment Options For Bruxism
If you feel that the night guard isn’t making enough of a difference, there are other alternative treatment options that you can inquire to your dentist about, such as:
- Teeth straightening – Maloclussions, or teeth that are out of alignment causing an overbite or underbite has been known to contribute to bruxism. Wearing braces can help in such cases.
- Proper stress management – Bruxism is also likely to be caused by anxiety, so you may want to try out certain methods of relaxation such as meditation. Professional counselling, in severe cases, may also be necessary and useful.
- Dietary changes. Stimulants, such as caffeine, have been known to cause teeth grinding, so your dentist might recommend avoiding such beverages. You may also be asked to stay off antidepressants, as they may make bruxism symptoms worse. This is a great time to remind you that during your initial consultation about bruxism, that you be honest with your dentist, especially when it comes to medication, so you can be told if it’s bad for you or be suggested an alternative.
While wearing night guards have been proven to help with bruxism, the best course of action is still to ask for help from a licensed dental professional.
If you have bruxism and feel that you would benefit from a night guard, call Dr. Anthony Yamada DDS at 310-546-2595 to schedule a consultaion today or visit www.chrisjohnsdds.com to learn more about night gaurds.