You wake up with a headache most mornings. Your tongue looks weirdly scalloped. Your teeth have hairline fractures and look shorter than they used to. What is happening while you sleep? It could be bruxism, otherwise known as unconscious clenching and grinding. If it is, you really need a nightguard.
What Exactly is a Nightguard?
A nightguard works almost exactly like a sports mouthguard – it protects your teeth and prevents painful damage. It is small and portable and most patients find them very easy and comfortable to wear. In fact, most of our patients love them because of the relief and peace of mind they offer.
The Symptoms of Tooth Grinding and Clenching
While all of these do not necessarily indicate that you are bruxing or grinding at night, they are a pretty good clue! If you experience any of the following symptoms, please give my Chapel Hill dental office a call:
- Worn, chipped, broken teeth
- Flattened tooth surfaces
- Exposure of tooth layers and loss of enamel
- Tooth sensitivity
- Jaw pain
- Headache and facial pain
- Earache from jaw muscle tension and contraction
- A scalloped tongue or irregular tongue edges
- Damaged mouth tissue
Bruxism can also cause micro fracturing and sensitivity at the gum line, and it can even lead to chronic headaches and TMJ disorder. Not something we want our patients to deal with – ever!
Why am I Grinding my Teeth?
It can be hard to pinpoint the cause: It might be a result of a car accident or other injury. Sometimes chronic stress or medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, can trigger bruxism. Other times it is caused by poorly balanced dental work or missing teeth. Whatever the cause, if you clench or grind your teeth, you could be facing a long list of dental problems, including the painful effects of TMJ disorder or arthritis of the temporomandibular joints.
Let Us Help
I’d love to help you protect your teeth and let you get a truly relaxing night’s sleep. At my dental office in Chapel Hill, my team and I can fit you with a custom-made nightguard appliance that will reduce the damage to your teeth and protect your dental investments! If you think you might grind your teeth at night, call us today!
We welcome patients from Chapel Hill, Durham, and Pittsboro.