The jaw is responsible for many daily functions, including eating, drinking, talking, and making facial expressions. The joint or hinge of the jaw is called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and excessive TMJ tension can cause uncomfortable side effects associated with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) and bruxism, or teeth grinding. Relaxation, changes in diet, and dental treatments can provide long-term relief from the symptoms of TMD and bruxism and improve a patient’s quality of life. While at-home methods and behavioral training can also help reduce jaw pain, the relief is typically temporary. The ideal approach involves visiting your dentist and obtaining professional care. To help prevent and treat bruxism, some patients may want to consider acquiring a night guard.
What Night Guards Can Correct
- Bruxism or teeth grinding
- Jaw pain or difficulty chewing
- Irritated gums
- A feeling of jaw lopsidedness
- Popping sounds when opening the mouth
- Headaches or ear pain
- Jaw becoming locked open or shut
- Tooth sensitivity
Night Guard Procedure
Bruxism can affect you at any time of day, but many patients find that the bulk of their teeth grinding occurs at night. A night guard can protect the teeth from the damage and discomfort caused by grinding. An impression is taken of the upper and lower teeth and sent to a dental lab to develop a night guard with a custom fit. These simple devices can provide relief for up to 10 years.
Alternatives to Night Guards
Sometimes, patients who suffer from TMD or bruxism may achieve optimal results by undergoing an occlusal adjustment. An occlusal adjustment involves realigning the bite for even distribution of pressure on the teeth. Those who experience bite irregularities and uneven tooth wear can improve their oral comfort and protect their teeth from further damage with this procedure. During your visit to Gentle Care Dentistry, your dentist will determine the best treatment approach for your unique condition.