Occasional grinding of the teeth at night, called bruxism, is fairly common. Often, this nighttime biting is relatively harmless, but if nighttime teeth grinding is a regular occurrence then it can cause serious damage to your teeth and jaw.
To prevent this damage- a professional bite guard is usually recommended.
Bruxism has several suspected causes. Sleep apnea is a common cause of teeth grinding because, as the body struggles for air, the lower jaw is pushed forward to try to open up the airway better. This movement of the jaw can cause grinding between teeth. Stress and anxiety are the other main cause. People that are stressed often report trouble sleeping and unknowingly clench their jaws during the restless sleep. Besides sleep disorders and stress, some people simply grind their teeth at night without an identifiable cause. Regardless of the reason, it is important to address the problem before real damage occurs. After addressing the possible root causes of the grinding, if you still have trouble stopping then you should consider getting a bite guard.
A nighttime bite guard is the most common solution to teeth grinding/clenching.
Not all bite guards are created equally though. The type of bite guard often found in athletic stores is not the type of guard you want to wear during sleep because it is not designed to perfectly mold to your teeth and stay in place. These types of guards can actually cause more problems during sleep because they move around and can increase jaw grinding. Instead, a professionally made mouth guard is the most effective option. These are custom made from impressions of your teeth and composed of soft, dual laminate or hard acrylic. These guards are molded perfectly to your teeth and stay in place throughout the night.
It can be hard to tell if you grind your teeth during sleep but common symptoms are sore teeth/jaw, headaches, and visible signs on your teeth that are often easy for a dentist to notice. If you think you suffer from grinding your teeth at night then make an appointment for a consultation with a professional like Dr. Mark, to discuss getting a nighttime bite guard and prevent serious damage.
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