Do you wake up with a sore jaw or teeth? You may be unconsciously grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep. Also known as bruxism, it can cause lasting oral health concequences and significant changes in your quality of life. You can protect your smile or reverse the damage with the help of your prosthodontist in La Mesa.
What Causes Bruxism?
The most common cause of bruxism is stress or anxiety; however, it can also result from an abnormal bite, missing teeth, or alignment issues. In some cases, it is a symptom of an underlying condition, like sleep apnea or a disorder of the temporomandibular joint, which limits your jaw’s function. No matter the cause, you need treatment right away to prevent damaging your teeth.
Complications of Bruxism
It can be difficult to tell that you grind your teeth at night because you are asleep. Often, it is a spouse who brings the issue to the attention of a patient. Although you may not be aware you are doing it, there are several signs you may suffer from bruxism.
It is common to experience a dull or constant headache, especially when waking in the morning. Your jaw may also be sore or tender. Over time, your teeth may become painful or loose. If the grinding persists, your teeth can be worn down to stumps. At thi point, extensive restorative procedures are needed to save your teeth, such as crowns, root canals, or dental prosthetics like bridges.
Protect Your Smile
Besides reducing your stress and anxiety levels, your prosthodontist can protect your teeth from damage with a custom-made nightguard. After an initial consultation to ensure bruxism is the problem, your prosthodontist creates an individualized treatment plan.
A nightguard acts as a barrier between the upper and lower teeth to protect them from grinding while you sleep. This takes stress and friction off your teeth and temporomandibular joint. In addition to the oral appliance, there are several changes you can make at home to help stop the clenching during the daytime hours, such as:
- Avoid foods containing caffeine.
- Avoid alcohol before bed.
- Do not chew on inedible objects, like pens, pencils, or your fingernails.
- If you notice yourself clenching your teeth during the day, train yourself to break the habit. Place your tongue between your teeth to help relax your jaw muscles.
- Apply a warm washcloth against your cheeks to relax your facial muscles.
Stop Grinding Your Teeth Today!
If you have a habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, do not wait until irreversible damage is done before getting the help you need. Your prosthodontist has the solution for you using a nightguard.
About Dr. Peter F. Johnson
Dr. Peter F. Johnson is a board-certified prosthodontist who strives to preserve your teeth using the latest innovations in dentistry. He offers specialty services to protect your smile, including the treatment of bruxism. If you are ready to stop the grinding, contact our office today to schedule your consultation for a night guard.