Grinding & Night Guards

Grinding & Night Guards

What is Grinding?

Grinding or Bruxism is a disease of the occlusion or the way a patient bites.

Grinding typically occurs at night and the person grinding their teeth is usually unconscious/asleep. Over time the edges or biting surface of the teeth flatten and weaken up to where teeth exhibit cracks and fractures. In the case of the front teeth, the teeth can chip off or break off.

Causes of Grinding:

  • Stress is one of the biggest reasons why people grind their teeth.
  • Malposition of teeth. Another major cause of grinding is that when teeth are not in their ideal positions, the mouth is unbalanced. When the jaw is not equilibrated the teeth tend to grind against each other trying to find a comfortable resting point.
  • Grinding associated with SLEEP APNEA.

Sleep Anpea, snoring and grinding are a triad that all go hand in hand. “Mild” cases of sleep apnea that do not require Sleep appliances such as a CPAP machine can be treated with Nightguards/Mouthguards.

  • Restricted airway leading to snoring: Restricted airways often cause the lower jaw to move back and forth causing the teeth to gnash on each other leading to tooth grinding.
  • Several crowns and bridges can also cause the teeth to collide against each other.
Grinding & Night Guards

Signs of Grinding? Are you a Bruxer?

  • One of the tell tale signs of night grinding is a partner or some one sleeping next to you mentioning that they heard you grind your teeth.
  • If you wake up with your TMJ joint feeling stiff in the morning or with a headache or migraine, then there is a good chance you were grinding your teeth at night.
  • Soreness or stiffness around your temples, forehead and the back of your neck are also indications of tooth grinding.
  • Not feeling rested after a night of sleep? Your jaw muscles were overactive causing your teeth to grind and keeping you from being well rested.
  • A comprehensive exam with Dr. Patel along with a radiation free Healthy Tooth Scan with ITERO will actually show you areas where you are grinding heavily.
Grinding & Night Guards

What is a Nightguard?

A night guard is a custom fitted mouth piece to be worn at night. It is comprised of hard acrylic material with grooves for the opposing teeth to rest on.

If you know what a single tooth crown is; a night guard acts as a crown for all your teeth.
Depending on what the causative factor is for your Grinding, different kinds of night guards can be recommended for you.

Can I buy a Night Guard from the local supermarket or pharmacy?

Non custom fitted Night Guards are actually bad for your teeth and can actually cause your bite and jaw more harm than good.

  • The material is a cheap soft plastic that often contains BPA and other harmful chemicals.
  • The softness of the material does not help the TMJ. Imagine chewing some gum all night long! That is painful and will cause the jaw to lock!!!
  • There is no custom fit which means these one-size-fit all night guards actually obstruct your airways and you could choke on them!!!

I am of the firm belief that if you cannot get a custom fitted night guard from your dentist, then WAIT.
DO NOT waste your money with a store bought night guard.
If you have read this far and are seeking a solution, mention Free Night guard evaluation when you book your appointment and we will evaluate your mouth, teeth and jaw and evaluate your needs.

Grinding & Night Guards