At Northstar Dental, we offer custom fitted nighttime mouthguards to protect against the dangers of teeth grinding. Also called bruxism, grinding or clenching the teeth can be the result of things like stress, anxiety, sleep apnea and sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, or missing or crooked teeth. According to the American Dental Association, those who smoke or drink alcohol may also be more likely to grind their teeth, while in children the problem may be caused by mouth irritation, allergies, or misaligned teeth. It usually happens involuntarily, especially during sleep, when people have no control over the habit. Bruxism is not an uncommon problem – it affects around 30-40 million children and adults in the US alone.
Am I Grinding?
You may not know that you grind your teeth – after all, it happens while you sleep. However, a myriad of symptoms may point to teeth grinding as the culprit. These can include headaches, a sore jaw, painful or loose teeth, new or worsening temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, or increased sensitivity to cold due to thinning dentin and enamel. Maybe you notice yourself repeatedly clenching your jaw for no apparent reason, or your spouse mentions a grinding noise during the night. These can all indicate the need to be evaluated for bruxism.
How Do I Stop?
Bruxism can have severe long-term effects. Chipped or broken teeth, cracked enamel, flattened or otherwise excessively worn teeth, tooth loss, receding gums, damaged fillings, and chronically painful TMJ are just a few examples. With regular check-ups and thorough evaluation, we can detect the problem early and begin treatment. In the longer term, this can mean dental work such as straightening the teeth but may also include finding ways to cope with and lower stress or changing diet or medications to minimize nighttime stimulation. More immediately, and depending on your specific situation, we may recommend a night guard.
Getting a Night Guard
Wearing a mouthguard while you sleep may not eliminate the habit of clenching your teeth, but it will create a barrier to prevent your teeth from grinding together and causing further potential damage. There are a variety of night guards available at most pharmacies without a prescription which can be fitted by heating or boiling and then biting to create a dental imprint. While they may cost less, these guards are generally not stable enough to support an even bite. Bruxism may be so severe for some that they chew right through the plastic guard, which can be dangerous if pieces break off. Furthermore, retail guards are often bulky and uncomfortable. On the other hand, our custom guards are made specifically for your teeth and bite.
To create your custom fitted nighttime mouthguard, we will first take an impression of your teeth, which is used to create a model of your mouth. From this, a mouthguard specific to your bite is crafted. Our ability to shape and trim the guard as needed ensures an ongoing comfortable fit, allowing you to sleep soundly while combating your teeth grinding.
Call us at Northstar Dental at (303) 481-3901 to start your journey to a better night’s sleep and a brighter tomorrow.