Tooth grinding, also know as bruxism, is when your upper and lower teeth meet and rub against one another. Most people are not aware of this habit since it occurs during their sleep. However, teeth grinding generates a large amount of force on the teeth and jaw, which in turn leads to jaw pain, neck pain and even headaches.
During your routine dental exam, your dentist may note wear on your teeth as a result of grinding your teeth. The most common treatment is to have a custom made night guard that you would use at night while you're sleeping to protect your teeth and jaw.
Here are the major advantages and disadvantages of wearing a nightguard:
A night guard serves as a cushion. During your sleep, the night guard acts as a protective barrier between your top and bottom teeth, therefore protecting them from chipping, breaking or wearing them down.
Patients who grind their teeth often complain of jaw pain as a result of the excessive forces they apply while grinding their teeth at night. In some cases, constant jaw pain can lead to headaches and even migraines. A night guard will prevent jaw pain and headaches, allowing you to maintaining a normal daily life.
Patients who grind their teeth often wake up in the middle of the night with tooth, jaw and muscle pain and tension. Waking up several times a night distrupts your sleeping pattern. A night guard will enhance your sleeping and help you achieve a good night of sleep regularly.
The only disadvantage is getting used to sleeping with a night guard in your mouth. If you never had a dental appliance or braces growing up, having an appliance in your mouth in the beginning will be awkward. Patients often report having trouble sleeping with it or even wake up in the middle of the night drooling. Just like a new pair of shoes, a night guard will require some time to get used to. Although you may be tempted to not use it, you must consider the long term benefits of it. Protecting your teeth and jaw is essential to long term good oral health.
A dental night guard is custom made to your mouth. It takes two appointments for your dentist to make it. Once it is well adjusted to your teeth, you will quickly adapt to using. The average price of a custom lab made night guard is 700$. Most insurances will cover the night guard, since it protects your teeth and prevents a lot of long term complications such as broken or chipped teeth, premature tooth loss, jaw pain and headaches. Ask your dentist today, if you need a night guard today.