A good night's sleep is a valuable thing. It helps to ensure you are healthy and alert during the day, and gives your body much-needed rest. But did you know there are dental problems that can happen while you sleep, and that they can have effects that go beyond your teeth and gums?
Bruxism, or tooth grinding, can cause headaches and jaw pain that persist throughout the day, and TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, can cause a wide variety of symptoms, including pain in the face, neck, and shoulders, locking of the jaw when eating or speaking, and facial swelling. Fortunately, at Turnagain Dental we offer a solution that can help minimize or even eliminate some of these symptoms and protect your teeth at the same time—oral night guards.
What Is a Night Guard?
Night guards come in a variety of styles and materials, but they all share some features. The guards are fitted over your teeth when you go to bed. Most commonly, night guards are fitted for the upper teeth only, but in some situations a lower guard may also be used. Anchorage dentist Dr. Dominic Wenzell will determine what night guard will work best for you and your situation.
Hard acrylic night guards help to protect and separate your teeth and discourage grinding. These custom-made night guards are made of a rigid plastic and can withstand years of use. We also offer the Thermo-Splint classic guard, a night guard which is rigid at room temperature but becomes flexible under hot water, allowing for ease of placement in your mouth. As the guard cools, it regains its rigidity to protect your teeth while you sleep.
Night Guards for Bruxism
Teeth grinding is a problem many of us may have without even knowing it. Since bruxism usually takes place during sleep, it may be difficult for you to diagnose yourself. Some signs that may indicate that you suffer from bruxism are frequent headaches or jaw pain upon waking. Often bruxism is discovered by a partner or loved one, or by your dentist due to abnormal tooth wear.
If you suffer from bruxism, it can cause many oral health problems, including excessive wear to your teeth, cracked or chipped teeth, or even tooth loosening and loss. It can also cause or complicate TMJ. To help minimize the damage caused by bruxism, we can fit you with a custom mouth guard that protects your teeth while you sleep.
Night Guards for TMJ
Treating TMJ requires a multi-faceted approach. Anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen can be taken to help treat pain and swelling, and relaxation techniques, massage, and physical therapy can be used to help loosen the jaw and minimize locking and popping. A night guard can also be worn to help keep your teeth separated while you sleep, lessening the pressure on your teeth and reducing symptoms.
Ease the Symptoms of Bruxism and TMJ with Custom-Crafted Night Guards
If you suffer from teeth grinding or TMJ and are interested in finding out more about our custom-crafted night guards, contact our Anchorage dental office to schedule an appointment now!