If you continually experience jaw pain and chronic headaches, and over the counter pain relievers don't really seem to do anything for you, you might be suffering from a condition known as bruxism. Bruxism frequently occurs at night, when you have no control over it. As a result, your oral health can really take a hit.
At Downtown Dental Care in Portland, Oregon, your oral health and wellbeing are important. For this reason, we offer night guards to help prevent the severe issues associated with bruxism.
What is Bruxism?Bruxism is a term that means that you grind and clench your teeth. While this can happen during the day, you are usually aware of it and can put an end to it. However, bruxism is more common at night, and you don't have that same control. As a result, you continue to put unnecessary pressure on your teeth while you sleep. Bruxism can lead to many oral health issues, some which you notice right away, and others that occur over time:
What Causes Bruxism?Bruxism is commonly attributed to stress. When you are stressed, your muscles tense up, including the ones in your face and jaw. Even while you sleep, stress and anxiety can affect you, tensing these muscles and forcing pressure on your teeth. Bruxism can also be caused by:
Night Guards Can HelpYou can take measures to make certain lifestyle changes in an attempt to put an end to bruxism, but these changes might not be enough. Night guards, also called occlusal guards or occlusal splints, can be a great help. A night guard is a simple device that is in the mouth to cover the top teeth. It essentially acts as a soft shield, cushioning your teeth when you press them together and rub them back and forth. They are custom made from molds of your mouth, which ensures that they stay in place despite pressure. A custom fit also keeps your jaw in alignment, which could otherwise lead to its own set of issues. While they can't stop your grinding and clenching, the cushion they provide is enough to give your jaw a break, helping to ease the pain and saving your teeth from destruction.
NTI Night GuardsAt Downtown Dental Care, we also offer the option of an NTI night guard. The NTI (nociceptive trigeminal inhibition) night guard is a small device, custom created for your mouth, that is only worn over the top front two teeth, which prevents your upper and lower molars from making contact. It lessens the pressure of clenching by triggering the nerve that then causes the muscles to relax, aiding in putting an end to unconscious bruxism.
When worn regularly, and kept in good condition, night guards can help to ease the extra pressure set upon your teeth by bruxism while you sleep. If you are tired of waking up with an achy jaw, facial muscle pain and headaches, give us a call at (503) 420-7600 and find out if a night guard is right for you.