Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a condition that affects millions of adults and children. The good news is that most children will outgrow the condition in time. Bruxism is not a long-term problem for most children, however, the sound of teeth grinding can set many a parent on edge. Bruxism in adults is another story.
Chronic grinding of the teeth can lead to a variety of dental problems. Not only does the condition affect the teeth, but it also can create pain in the jaw, neck, head and radiate into the shoulder and upper back. Every day when you chew, your molars undergo tremendous stress. Biting down on your second molar can produce as much as 168 pounds of pressure.
With every bite, the muscles and ligaments of the jaw joint are affected. During sleep, under normal conditions, these structures relax and repair themselves through natural processes. When they are being used during the sleep process due to grinding, they become overused, and the natural process of repair cannot take place. Consequently, jaw soreness along with other issues begin to develop.
When it is not addressed, bruxism causes unnecessary wear and tear on the teeth. Tooth enamel becomes thinner and may wear away completely in some areas of the tooth for those with a severe problem. Some individuals may crack or cause damage to their teeth because of the pressure exerted when they grind their teeth so aggressively. Fortunately, a nightguard can protect the teeth from damage and help minimize the stress to the jaw joint.
Treatment for Bruxism
Proper diagnosis of the condition is the first step toward treating it. There are different types of nightguards available. Your dentist will determine the best type for your condition after conducting an examination. The nightguard is a dental appliance that fits over your teeth in the same way a protective mouthguard fits over the teeth of an athlete.
Nightguards protect the teeth from the wear and tear of grinding. The nightguard acts as a barrier and prevents the upper and lower teeth from coming together. It also eliminates the pressure generated by grinding.
Chronic clenching and teeth grinding can cause serious damage to your teeth and generate pain in your jaws, head, neck and shoulders. Proper diagnosis and treatment can relieve the discomfort and eliminate the damage bruxism can produce. Contact Shadle Smiles today, and schedule an appointment for a consultation if you or a loved one has this condition.