When your dentist first suggests that you wear a night guard, your first thought might be the mouth scaffolding teenage girls wear in 80’s movies when they’re going to bed at night. Luckily for you, a night guard isn’t so involved as braces or other sort of dental related night wear. A night guard may take a few days or even weeks for you to get used to, but ultimately you’ll see a benefit in your smile, your physical health, and even your mental health.
What is Bruxism?
The act of grinding and clenching is known in the medical world as bruxism. A night guard is used to prevent this grinding and clenching from happening.
Bruxism often occurs when you’re sleeping or under stress. This is a very common behavior, so don’t feel like you’re the only one with this problem. If you’re waking up with a sore jaw, experiencing headaches during the day, or experiencing certain tooth pain, you could be experiencing symptoms of Bruxism.
Your dentist is the only person who can confirm whether you have bruxism, although it’s important to watch for the signs.
Grinding Your Teeth
When you grind your teeth, your teeth lose their protective outer layer, the enamel. And when your enamel is gone, it cannot be replaced, which can lead to a lot of oral damage, like cavities.
Stress, anxiety, smoking, caffeine, depression and sleep disorders are all possible causes of teeth grinding, also according to the Bruxism Association. That being said, there is little evidence to directly support any cause. Research has shown that bruxism is found more frequently in people who snore or suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and in people whose lifestyle includes smoking, drinking alcohol and caffeine.
It has been found that 70 percent of people clench and grind their teeth as a result of stress and anxiety.
Getting Used to Your Night Guard
Like most new habits, you may take awhile to adjust to your night guard before it feels natural. Wearing your night guard for a few hours each day can help you expedite the process. Get into the habit of wearing it every night, washing it regularly, and keeping it close by. The more consistently you wear your night guard.
Catonsville Dental Care Can Help!
Whether you need a wisdom tooth extracted or a professional cleaning, Catonsville Dental Care has the experience and understanding to diagnose and treat your problem as quickly and painlessly as possible. We offer a suite of services including dental implants, cleanings, Invisalign, and routine preventative dental treatments. We look forward to helping keep you smiling all year long. To schedule an appointment or consultation, visit us online or give us a call at (410) 747-1115. For more tips and tricks, follow us on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube.