Has your dentist or prosthodontist in San Diego discovered that your teeth are all far more worn down than they should be? There’s a good chance you have bruxism – a condition found in about 8% of adults where the jaws grind and clench together while you’re asleep. The longer this goes on, the weaker your teeth will become; eventually, they might even become fractured. If you want to get a good night’s rest without having to worry about the safety of your grin, read on to learn more about recognizing bruxism and how your prosthodontist can help you protect your smile.
What are the Warning Signs of Bruxism?
It’s not completely clear what causes bruxism, but at the very least the condition does have plenty of symptoms you can watch out for. Make an appointment with your prosthodontist right away if you notice:
- Teeth that have become flattened or chipped.
- Enamel worn down to the point where the inner layers of the tooth are exposed
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Jaw muscles that feel tired or tight when you wake up
- General jaw, neck, and face pain
- Dull headaches that start inside the temples
- Disrupted sleep
- A spouse awakened by the sound of teeth grinding
How Can You Protect Yourself from Bruxism?
There’s no direct cure for bruxism, but fortunately you can dramatically reduce the damage and pain it causes with a mouthguard. The idea is simple: if there’s a barrier between your teeth, they can’t grind against each other. The mouthguard itself might be worn down, but unlike your natural teeth, it can easily be replaced. As a side benefit, mouthguards can provide better support for the joint connecting your jaw to the head, which in turn helps treat the TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) that might be contributing to your bruxism.
Note that there are other ways you can treat your bruxism while wearing a mouthguard. For example, since stress is closely linked to the condition, you might benefit from meditation or other strategies to lower anxiety.
Could I Get a Mouthguard at the Store?
There are several different kinds of mouthguards that you can buy over the counter. However, none of them will be as effective as an oral appliance provided by your prosthodontist. That’s because a professional mouthguard is designed using an impression of your teeth for an exact fit. As a result, it’ll be far more comfortable and can provide much more effective protection than anything that’s store-bought.
Bruxism can very easily develop from a mere annoyance into a severe oral health problem given enough time, so don’t let it continue any longer than necessary. Take the necessary steps to protect your smile while you enjoy some well-earned slumber!
About the Author
Dr. Peter F. Johnson is a board-certified prosthodontist whose passion for dentistry has always pushed him to go above and beyond with his education and training. While he can offer many different kinds prosthetics to replace and repair damaged teeth, he can also help you protect your smile with mouthguards designed to fight bruxism. To schedule an appointment at his La Mesa practice, San Diego Denture & Implant Specialists, visit his website or call (619) 463-3737.