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Night Guards: Signs You Need One & How They Work

Night guard bruxism dentists in Grand Rapids MI

Night guard bruxism dentists in Grand Rapids MI

Mystery headaches or jaw pain when you wake up could be any number of things but for most people, the culprit is often either bruxism or a TMJ disorder. Fortunately, a custom-made night guard from our Grand Rapids, MI, dentists can help ease the discomfort felt in the mornings.

Here are a few details about night guards and when it’s time to ask our dentists about getting one of your own.

Explaining Bruxism and TMJ Disorders

Experienced by many worldwide, bruxism is a common condition in which you grind and clench your teeth excessively. It can happen during the day or at night and oftentimes goes unnoticed by the affected individual.

Both adults and children can experience bruxism. Fortunately, most cases are easily treated with dental appliances, like night guards. More often than not, bruxism results from high levels of stress, anxiety, or an abnormal bite.

Temporomandibular joint, or TMJ disorders can also play into an individual’s need for a night guard. Think of your temporomandibular joint as a sliding hinge that connects the jawbone to your skull. When there is compromised or dysfunctional movement of the jaw joint, pain can occur in the facial muscles.

Our dentists will have to evaluate your teeth and jaw for obvious signs of bruxism and TMJ disorder. If tooth wear is found and facial pain is reported after waking, a night guard will be created.

Common Bruxism Symptoms

Any sign of bruxism or a TMJ disorder should be relayed to our dentists. If left untreated, the long-term existence of either condition can result in possible loss of teeth, enamel, and more.

Bruxism may be at fault if you’re experiencing:

  • Dull headaches after waking up
  • Jaw, neck, or face soreness
  • Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped, or loose
  • Fatigue caused by lack of sleep
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles

If your grinding or clenching do result in damage to your teeth, our dentists may discuss the need for restorative procedures like dental crowns or dental implants. If treatment in the form of tooth extraction is needed for severely damaged teeth, we’ll discuss this with you in detail as well. Our goal is to always save natural teeth first and foremost.

The Basics: How Night Guards Work

Night guards help protect your teeth and gums from the effects of grinding and clenching. They do this by acting as a barrier between your top and bottom teeth. Because they can’t touch when the night guard is in place, grinding and clenching teeth become difficult.

The night guard also gives the muscles in the jaw a cushioning effect if you do try to clench your teeth. Its presence lightens the tension put on the jaw and prevents pain in the area as well as tooth enamel loss.

Keep Your Teeth Safe & Protected

Our dentists in Grand Rapids, MI, can create a personalized night guard for you to wear while you sleep so your teeth remain safe from the effects of bruxism. Call Contemporary Family Dental today at (616) 209-3969 to schedule an appointment and get started.