If you’ve been waking up with headaches, a sore jaw, or the achy feeling of misalignment in your teeth, you’re probably grinding your teeth in your sleep. Sleep bruxism, or the grinding or gnashing of teeth during the night, is often related to other sleep disorders like snoring or sleep apnea, and can also be a result of stress during waking hours.
Aside from causing pain and damaging your teeth, sleep bruxism can have an adverse effect on your quality of sleep. That’s why dentists often recommend custom-made nightguards for patients who suffer from sleep bruxism. While over-the-counter nightguards prevent your teeth from grinding together, they cannot protect the joints and muscles of the jaw, so headaches, pain, and poor sleep may persist. A custom-made nightguard, on the other hand, offers the following benefits.
Sleep bruxism and other temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) can cause everything from jaw muscle or joint fatigue to headaches, ear aches, muscle spasms, and lockjaw. A correctly-formed nightguard, however, will work to properly align your teeth, reduce the tension in your jaw, and ease the strain on the joints and muscles.
The nightly wearing-down and grinding away of enamel can, depending on the severity of the bruxism, cause anything from mild tooth sensitivity to gum recession, abfraction (the formation of triangular grooves in the gumline), chips, cracks, and even fractures. The most immediate benefit of a nightguard is that it protects the tooth surfaces from each other during the night, greatly reducing enamel damage.
With the constant activity of grinding, especially the muscle fatigue and pain that it causes, bruxism can dramatically affect sleep quality. By protecting your teeth and discouraging grinding, a custom nightguard can make sleep more restful. In fact, nightguards can even prevent snoring, meaning your partner may just get a better rest as well.
When sleep bruxism goes untreated for an extended time, the cumulative damage of each night’s tension and grinding becomes expensive to repair. Often this damage affects the entire mouth, rather than an individual tooth. By reducing damage to your teeth, a custom nightguard can spare you from significant dental costs down the line.
If you suffer from sleep bruxism, a nightguard may be just what you need to dramatically improve your dental health, sleep quality, and general quality of life. Hayhurst Family and Cosmetic Dentistry offers both nightguards and sportguards that are made to measure for a perfect fit that protects your teeth. Stop putting up with the daily grind of sleep bruxism, and contact us today by calling (208) 376-7721 or visiting us online.