Protecting your Teeth
Nightguards (or mouth splints) are custom-fitted plastic appliances that are worn over the teeth to protect them from damage due to clenching or grinding - a condition known as Bruxism.
Bruxism is usually associated with stress, but can be related to sleep disorders, poor bite or jaw joint dysfunction (TMJ/TMD). Because it usually occurs during sleep, bruxism can go unnoticed for years.
Common symptoms of bruxism include headaches, tired or sore facial muscles and cracked or sensitive teeth.
- Extensive grinding can cause severe wear of tooth enamel, making the teeth appear shorter and flattened.
- Left untreated, bruxism can eventually result in serious damage to the teeth that may require extensive restorative procedures to repair.
Nightguards are often recommended as part of treatment of dysfunctional jaw joint movement, or TMJ/TMD. Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ), or "jaw joints", are the hinged joints on either side of the jaw that are responsible for opening and closing the mouth.
Some patients suffer from a condition known as "Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction" (TMD) in which one or both joints do not move in a smooth, fluid manner.
In some cases, a therapeutic approach using a nightguard to protect the jaw joints from bruxism or clenching can help manage more chronic symptoms. The long-term effects of TMJ disorders can lead to serious dental problems and pain management issues if not addressed.
While clicking and popping of the jaw joints is not necessarily a sign of a problem, teeth grinding (bruxism) or clenching during sleep are often related to TMD. Other symptoms include:
- Headaches or facial pain
- Tingling in the arms or fingers
- Ringing or stuffiness in the ears
- Pain when chewing or yawning
- Limited jaw opening or locking
- Neck or shoulder pain
- Back pain
- Clicking, popping or grating sounds
- Migraine headaches
As part of your complete dental examination, our doctors will evaluate both jaw joints (TMJ) and each tooth surface to observe for signs of distress and address any problems as needed to keep to your teeth and jaw joints healthy and pain-free.
If you are experiencing any of the signs of TMJ disorders or Bruxism, we can help. Contact Us today to get the answers you need.