Do you grind and clench your teeth every night? Do you wake in the morning with a headache, sore teeth, or aching jaw? These are symptoms of sleep bruxism, the technical term for teeth grinding and clenching. This unconscious behavior can do serious damage to your oral health but, with intervention like clenching therapy and customized night guards from Bethesda Family Dentistry, you can be saved from dental damage and discomfort and regain a good night’s sleep.
What Causes Teeth Clenching?
There are many potential reasons for teeth clenching and grinding. Your dentist will conduct a thorough dental exam and ask plenty of questions, perhaps take digital x-rays, to determine the root cause of the problem. From there, an accurate diagnosis can be made and a recommendation for the kind of treatment that will provide fast relief. Quite often, patients are diagnosed with temporomandibular disorder (TMD), which can come from an injury or complications with facial muscles and the jaw joint.
Though some people suffer from chronic bruxism, others experience the problem only temporarily in times of high stress or worry. The most common causes of teeth clenching include:
- Abnormal bite
- Crooked teeth
- Extreme stress
- Missing teeth
- Sleep apnea
- TMJ problems
Problems Caused by Clenching Your Teeth
Even if you think your teeth clenching issue is temporary, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Bethesda dentist for support. Your teeth are incredibly strong and when they press against each other for hours at a time when you’re sleeping, your oral health can deteriorate quickly. Oral health problems and discomfort can develop in the mouth and jaw, including:
- Broken teeth
- Cracked teeth
- Damaged dental work
- Gum recession
- Popping jaw joints
- Tenderness when chewing
- Worn tooth enamel
Though the sleep bruxism may occur at night, you will wake with side effects, feel them through the day, and be forced to live with inflammation, pressure, and pain.
Clenching Therapy: Solution for Sleep Bruxism
Typically, the most effective, long-lasting form of clenching therapy is a customized nightguard. Some patients may need even more targeted treatments to fully combat their teeth grinding issues, though. For example, someone with missing teeth may need dental implants or a patient with severe jaw misalignment may need Invisalign treatment.
When your Bethesda dentist recommends a customized, full-coverage night guard, here’s how it works:
- Dentist takes impressions of your mouth.
- Dental lab creates personalized appliance.
- Night guard fits snugly on your upper teeth.
- Upper and lower teeth are protected from each other.
You will have to wait a week or two in between your fitting and receipt of the mouthguard – the dental lab requires time to create the night guard from the molds your dentist creates – but once this sophisticated dental mouthguard is in place it will deliver immediate relief. Avoid being tempted by any over-the-counter options while you wait. Boil-and-bite solutions are flawed solutions that lack in personal fit and can cause more pain and damage beyond what you’re already experiencing.
The Benefits of Clenching Therapy
A customized nightguard serves as daily preventive dental care that can last for decades with proper cleaning and storage. Getting this guard is an investment in your oral health now and for the future. With this one appliance you can:
- Avoid painful dental problems
- Save yourself from costly dental work
- Protect teeth from deterioration
- Stop painful side effects of grinding and clenching
The guard itself is made of clear plastic and is smooth and durable. Its snug-fitting design is comfortable and delivers protection immediately.
Get Clenching Therapy at Bethesda Dentist Near Me
If you recognize the side effects of sleep bruxism and believe that clenching therapy could work for you, schedule an appointment with Bethesda Family Dentistry to get a diagnosis and find out what’s best for your oral health. Contact us today to schedule a visit at either of our two convenient Bethesda locations.