TMD/Bruxism Night guards
Mouth guard is a removable dental appliance carefully molded to fit the upper or lower teeth arches. It is used for preventing teeth from grinding during night, managing jaw dysfunctions and reducing strain of biting muscles, but mouth guard can also be used for teeth whitening, after orthodontic treatments, or even for sport activities.
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, implies unconscious clenching of teething during sleep. It is easy to recognize it once you start waking up with sore jaw, headache or tooth pain. First line of defense when grinding is obtaining mouth guard to protect teeth from further wear and tear until underlying cause is resolved. The point is – grinding is a consequence. All the problems that grinding makes will go away as soon as the underlying cause does. That’s why dentist has to look at the bigger picture, to determine what evokes it.
Teeth grinding can lead to premature loss of enamel, teeth fractures, gum recession and jaw joint disorders.
There are three types of mouthguards: stock, boiled and custom made.
Stock mouthguards are the cheapest of all. They are made in few different sizes and easily purchasable in most sports stores. Although very bulky, they cannot be adjusted and provide little protection.
Boil and bite protectors are better option than stock ones, but they also don’t fit perfectly.
Custom made mouthguards are the best solution. They are made at the office, specifically for each patient, providing the best fit with most comfort and protection. Procedure is fairly quick and easy, all it takes is an impression of teeth and mouth guard can be modeled over the model made from that impression.
Taking care of mouth guard is not a big deal, very similar to dentures. It needs to be cleaned with toothbrush and a toothpaste or soap, and kept in perforated container which allows air to circulate.
Mouth guard should be considered a viable solution for conserving teeth and jaw joint from unnecessary wear and tear.
Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism
- Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to wake up your sleep partner
- Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose
- Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
- Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
- Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek
- Jaw, neck or face pain or soreness
It's important to talk to your dentist if you feel you are experiencing any of these bruxism symptoms. Regular dental checkups can also reveal problems with your teeth if you regularly grind or clench them. Your dentist can recommend a mouthguard so you don't damage your teeth.
TMD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, and typically this disorder presents in pain in the areas of the joints holding the upper and lower jaw together, which may result in difficulty for the patient in moving the jaw.
Signs or symptoms of TMD include pain and tenderness in or around the ear, the jaw or the muscles face or temples. Other symptoms are problems opening or closing your mouth, and a clicking, popping, crunching or grinding noise when you chew, yawn or open your mouth. TMD may be linked with neck pain and headaches. In most cases, TMD are caused by a combination of factors like jaw injuries and joint disease, such as arthritis. It is believed that bruxism and head or neck muscle tension may make TMD symptoms worse. Stress is also a possible factor.
How can your dentist help with TMD
To properly diagnose TMD, your dentist will conduct a thorough medical and dental evaluation and may take certain X-rays (panoramic) to evaluate the jaw joint and surrounding structures and check your occlusion. He may check the muscles and tissues of the head and neck to test for inflammation. Certain exercises and movements may be involved, and you may get a referral to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for further evaluation and diagnosis.
Fairview Family Dental in Brantford provides professional, custom dental nightguards to treat both bruxism and TMD disorders; contact us to schedule a consultation appointment.
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