What is Bruxism?
Bruxism is also commonly known as Teeth Grinding. Most of us clench or grind our teeth during stressful period and is normal.
However, if this condition of grinding and clenching of teeth persist only long period of time, damages to the teeth will occurred.
Why Do You Grind Your Teeth?
Teeth grinding or bruxism is grinding of teeth during non-chewing situation and it is done unconsciously or during sleep.
This grinding of teeth can carry on for hours each night producing loud noise of teeth meshing violently together, disturbing sleeping partners and without the awareness of the patient except having a slight muscle ache in the jaw.
Suspected causes may be stress and anxiety related, especially living in this fast pace and high pressure modern society.
Why Should You Treat Bruxism?
Prolonged, unnecessary tooth contact due to teeth grinding can cause premature wear of the biting surfaces of the teeth leading to thinning of the enamel layer (protective layer of the tooth) and exposing the softer inner layer called dentin.
This layer is sensitive to hot/cold and acidic food thus making worn-down teeth more sensitive to extreme temperature changes and acidic or sugary food.
These teeth may become increasingly sensitive, painful or even shaky as the situation deteriorate. Finally, it may also lead to cracked tooth and even fractures that require extraction.
Bruxism may also cause ache and pain in the jaw muscles and jaw joints, sometimes making it painful and difficult to chew, speak or open your mouth wide.
What Is Night Guard (Occlusal Splint) And Why Should You Wear One?
An occlusal splint is an oral appliance made of either hard acrylic or softer rubber material that is fitted over the biting surface of teeth of either the upper or lower jaw.
It serves as a protective layer to cushion the hard teeth from clashing against each other during sleep.
It is to be worn before you sleep and it does not stop the grinding but to prevent the destructive effects of the uncontrolled teeth grinding.
How Long Does It Take A Make A Night Guard?
About 2 weeks in 2 visits, you should be able to get your custom-made occlusal splint (night guard).
The first visit requires our dentists to make a mould of your upper and lower teeth and some measurement.
You will get your custom-made splint on the second visit. The dentist may need to make some trimming on the splint to make it fit better to your bite and also to teach you how to take in and out of the mouth and some basic maintenance care of your splint.
How Long Does Night Guard Last?
The splint should last you for a few years with proper care and maintenance. The longevity of the splint will be affected by the severity of the bruxism in terms of frequency and intensity
How Do I Find Out If I Am Grinding My Teeth?
Since most of the grinding during sleep, most people are unaware of this destructive activity. One of the signs may be a sore jaw or a dull headache, neck ache or shoulder ache when you wake up in the morning. Your sleeping partner may complain of the loud noise you made during grinding when you are asleep. Other dental signs may be sensitive teeth to hot/cold due to excessive wear on the biting surfaces of the teeth or worse, pain caused by cracked tooth or fractured fillings.
If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth at night, visit our dentist. He/She will check your teeth for signs of bruxism, such as excessive tooth wear or jaw tenderness.