What Is Bruxism?
If you wake up in the morning with a headache or tired jaw, you may be clenching or grinding your teeth while you sleep. Bruxism (habitual teeth grinding or clenching) commonly affects many patients and can lead to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders, worn teeth, gum recession, and other effects on teeth and jaw. Teeth grinding or clenching may be the result of anxiety, stress, uneven biting surfaces, or other factors. At Made Ya Smile Dental in Sugar Land, TX, our experienced general dentists routinely help patients manage the effects of bruxism with custom night guard therapy and other personalized care. Night guards are appliances made of acrylic or similar materials that are worn over biting surfaces while sleeping to keep your teeth from rubbing against each other and protect your oral structures.
Treating teeth grinding and clenching as early as possible can help improve your comfort while minimizing damage to the teeth, gums, and jaw joints. Conditions like flattened or worn biting edges, broken or chipped teeth and restorations, and a receding gumline may all indicate a bruxism condition. Frequent headaches, popping of the jaw, and difficulty opening or closing the mouth can result from habitual teeth grinding and interfere with your quality of life. If you or a family member experience any of these signs or symptoms, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our dentists to learn if bruxism is affecting your smile.
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What Are the Symptoms of Bruxism?
A wide range of lifestyle, medical, and environmental factors may lead to the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth, though the precise cause of bruxism is unknown. Teeth clenching and grinding can affect patients of all ages and most often occurs at night while sleeping. Parafunctional habits, including gum chewing and nail-biting, along with sleep disorders, bite misalignment, genetics, and stress can all bring on a teeth grinding habit. Bruxism can lead to a number of concerning oral and general health symptoms, including TMJ disorders, broken or chipped teeth or restorations, gum recession, uneven biting surfaces, and chronic headaches, jaw pain, or neck and shoulder pain. To help you learn if teeth grinding is affecting your health and well-being, our dentists offer TMJ evaluation and bruxism assessments. We can also help you identify factors that may be causing your teeth grinding or clenching habit.
You may benefit from a custom dental appliance for teeth grinding or other bruxism treatment if you are experiencing any of the following signs or symptoms:
- Jaw or tooth pain
- Tension in the jaw
- Discomfort when eating
- Limited jaw opening
- Frequent headaches
- Loose or damaged restorations
- Tooth sensitivity
- Earaches or ringing in the ear
- Face, neck, or shoulder pain
How Is Bruxism Treated?
During your bruxism consultation, our team will evaluate your teeth and jaw joints and inquire about any factors that may be causing you to clench or grind your teeth. In many cases, a custom-fit night guard is recommended to protect your teeth and jaw joints against the long-term effects and damage caused by bruxism. Other treatment options may be discussed, including bite adjustments or orthodontic care, if these may be more beneficial to your health.
Night guards are made to fit comfortably over the upper or lower arch. These appliances are worn while sleeping to keep your teeth apart and maintain your jaw in a comfortable position while preventing the grinding of tooth structure. To make your custom night guard, our team will take molds of your upper and lower arches and send these off to our partner lab to create your appliance. We use durable, high-quality acrylic or other material to make your night guard. Our team will schedule you to come back to our office when your night guard is ready. We will show you how to place and remove the appliance from your mouth and provide instructions on how to store and maintain it so that it lasts well into the future. To ensure the best possible fit and effectiveness, our dentists may make minor adjustments to your guard as needed.
How Can I Care for My Bruxism Mouth Guard?
Using your custom night guard appliance as suggested by our team can help minimize oral damage and improve your general comfort. Even if you start to feel better and your symptoms are reduced, it is still important to wear your appliance every night to keep your upper and lower jaws in proper alignment and protect your joints, teeth, and gums. Depending on your specific condition, we may recommend palliative care at home along with night guard use. This may include cold compresses or moist heat, anti-inflammatory medications, and specific stretches and exercises for facial and neck muscles. We also encourage you to avoid crunching ice, chewing gum, and eating hard foods, like nuts and chewy bagels as not to overwork your jaw. Additional recommendations may also be given to help relax your muscles and minimize tension in your mouth.
Visiting Made Ya Smile Dental for routine cleanings and exams as recommended by our dentists can also help keep your smile comfortable and happy. You can bring your night guard to each visit so that we can clean it for you and evaluate the fit or make any adjustments to your appliance.
Are Night Guards Covered by Insurance?
Depending on the plan, night guard appliances may be covered in part by dental insurance. To be sure, we will review your specific coverage amounts and let you know of any out-of-pocket expenses for your care. Our team wants to help you maximize your insurance benefits and can assist you in finding alternative payment options if you are not using insurance for your bruxism treatment. We take several convenient payment methods and offer in-house and third-party financing options to help you get the care you need for a comfortable, confident smile.
Protect Your Smile Against Teeth Grinding
Keep bruxism from interfering with your oral health, comfort, and general well-being. Untreated teeth grinding and clenching can lead to TMJ problems, damaged teeth and fillings, headaches, and a wide range of other problems. Our dentists are very experienced in treating bruxism for improved quality of life and can help you determine if a custom night guard or additional treatment options are the best solutions for restoring your health. Contact Made Ya Smile Dental in Sugar Land, TX today for personalized bruxism care from a skilled and friendly team.