Night guards are mainly used to prevent teeth grinding, or bruxism. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 8% of adults in the USA grind their teeth while sleeping, and a third of American parents report symptoms of bruxism in their children. This constant grinding can cause many dental problems down the line. So what exactly would a night guard protect you from?
What Bruxism Does to Your Teeth
Teeth grinding can lead to a lot of major problems:
- Toothache. The constant pressure on your teeth throughout the night will cause you a lot of pain in the morning.
- TMJ Disorder. This is a form of chronic pain in the part of your jaw which is connected to your skull. Grinding your teeth throughout the night can seriously hurt your jaw, leading to dysfunction. This means you might not be able to open and close your mouth properly, or make certain facial expressions.
- Tightening of the jaw. Your jaw muscles can become tight, which can make it painful and difficult to open and close your mouth normally. There might also be cracking sounds when you move your jaw, since your muscles are tense.
- Swelling. Your jaw can swell up, which is both, painful and uncomfortable.
- Headaches. The pressure on your teeth and jaws also cause headaches, because your lower jaw pushes against the upper one, which is part of your skull. This headache is not just something you’ll experience in the morning; it can continue well into your day.
- Fractures. Your teeth might get fractured or chip because of the pressure on them. Not only is this painful, it also looks unpleasant.
- Facial pain. Since nerves are interconnected, the pain in your jaw and teeth can spread to your face.
Why Night Guards are a Great Solution
While night guards are not the only solution to bruxism, they’re quite useful.
They prevent your teeth from grinding against each other while you sleep, protecting them from damage. They also relieve the pressure on your jaws and prevent any pain you might experience.
A lot of people grind their teeth because of stress or anxiety, and these problems take a lot of time in getting resolved. Meanwhile, a night guard can protect your teeth from any further damage.
Bruxism can also be caused by misaligned teeth. Dr. Sheida Larijani with Bethesda Dental Health can help you figure out the reason behind your teeth grinding is.