If you’ve experienced pain or tightness in your jaw and neck, you’ve likely been diagnosed with bruxism or told that you’re grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep. Clenching and grinding can be dangerous. It can wear down your teeth, requiring intensive dental reconstruction down the road, and, in the shorter term, it can impact your quality of life by causing pain in the neck and jaw, headaches, and fatigue.
If this is the case, it’s time to talk to your family dentist in Windsor about a night guard. Dr. Dan Foresto will assess whether you are clenching or grinding, if there’s been any physical damage, and will discuss your treatment options.
Bruxism, or tooth grinding, is often caused by anxiety, stress, abnormal bite patterns, snoring, tobacco use or sleep apnea, but these are only a few potential reasons you might be clenching at night.
Once you’ve confirmed with your dentist that bruxism is the problem, it’s time to decide on the best course of treatment for you. Night guards are an effective way to prevent tooth grinding and clenching while you sleep. You can have a custom mouth guard made and fitted specifically for your mouth, or you can purchase a pre-made night guard from a pharmacy.
There are two different kinds of over-the-counter night guards. Some are a single size that can be used by any adult. The second is one that you boil to soften the material. Once it’s soft from the heat, you place it in your mouth and bite hard into it, helping to fit it to your specific bite. These pre-made mouth guards are less expensive than the custom-fits you can get from your dentist, and they can help with clenching and grinding. But before you make your decision, there are some real benefits to choosing a custom mouth guard that you should know about.
Custom mouth guards offer the best fit available, because they are built to fit your mouth and bite patterns exactly. This will make them more comfortable and easier to wear, which is an extremely important factor because this makes you more likely to keep your mouth guard in all through the night. Uncomfortable mouth guards that don’t fit properly are often spit out in the night. Common sense says that if you’re not wearing the night guard, it’s not going to correct the problem.
If you suspect that you’re clenching or grinding your teeth at night, make an appointment to see Dr. Dan Forestro and his team. They’ll work with you to diagnose the problem and weigh the pros and cons of your treatment options to find the right plan for you.