Night Guards

Doctor at The Center for Cosmetic Dentistry showing a patient a mouthguard.

Do you wake up in the morning and the first thing you notice is a significant amount of pain in your jaw? If the answer is yes, you may be living with a condition known as bruxism. Not only does bruxism cause serious jaw pain, but it can also make normal tasks, including eating and speaking, unbearable. Bruxism often occurs at night, when you have no control over the muscle contractions in your jaw. At The Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, we can help to alleviate the symptoms of bruxism with a custom fit night guard.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is the clenching and grinding of your teeth. It occurs when the muscles in your face and jaw contract. It can occur at any time, but it is most common at night. This is because, during the day, you are often aware of the muscle contractions, and are therefore able to control them. When you are sleeping, you do not have this same control. These muscle contractions put excessive pressure on your teeth, jaw and temporomandibular joint. The muscles may also tire from overuse.

Causes of Bruxism

There is no one singular cause of bruxism. It can be caused by some different issues. One of the most common causes of bruxism is stress. Stress does not just affect you during the daytime. It can also affect you while you sleep. It causes all of the muscles in your body, including the ones in your face and jaw, to become tense. Other common causes of bruxism include alignment issues of the teeth and jaw as well as stimulants, including certain medications, caffeine, and alcohol.

Bruxism Symptoms

There are several symptoms that often accompany bruxism. You may notice some symptoms right away. Others occur gradually, and show up later. Moreover, there are some symptoms that seem completely unrelated to the jaw at all, which can often lead you to believe that you have a completely different issue. As a result, bruxism may go undiagnosed for a while.

  • Severe jaw pain as well as pain in the temporomandibular joint.
  • Facial pain.
  • Extreme wear on the enamel. Over time, the teeth may start to appear shorter. This can also lead to an increased risk of developing tooth decay and cavities.
  • Gum recession.
  • Your teeth may become loose. They may even fall out.
  • Chronic headaches or earaches.

Treating Bruxism with a Custom Fit Night Guard

A mouth guard also called an occlusal guard, or an occlusal splint is an oral device that is often used to alleviate the symptoms of mild to moderate bruxism. This oral device acts as a cushion, absorbing the impact that is exerted by your teeth and jaw when the muscles contract. 

While there are night guards available for sale over the counter, these guards do not often provide the relief you need. Some can even make the situation worse. At The Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, we provide you with a custom fit night guard. It is created from impressions of your mouth, which help to ensure a perfect fit. There are two types of night guard. One fits over your entire top arch of teeth, similar to a sports mouth guard. The second sits only over your top front teeth. Both provide a cushion from the forces of your jaw and help to hold your jaw in proper alignment. While night guards cannot stop the causes of bruxism, they can provide you significant symptom relief.

With a custom fit night guard, we can help you to alleviate your jaw pain and give you back your life. For more information, and to find out if a night guard is right for you, call us today at (631) 982-9669.