Many people have a habit of grinding or clenching their teeth together, particularly at night. Known as bruxism, it can lead to uneven teeth, which are weakened due to a loss of enamel. It can also affect patients in other ways, since bruxism can result in joint problems leading to severe headaches and neck stiffness in the head and neck area. In severe cases, grinding or clenching the teeth can result in Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), a condition that is characterized by a popping jaw and often results in a great deal of pain.
Since many people grind or clench their teeth while sleeping, it can be difficult to modify this behavior. This is why using a Night Guard is extremely important. One of these devices does not stop the clenching or grinding activity, but it does provide some protection from the damage that occurs because of it. Since there is less impact, patients often notice less jaw and neck pain, and headaches may be less frequent, as well. People who wear Night Guards can prevent damage to their teeth, which could ultimately lead to improved dental health.
A Night Guard consists of a u-shaped plastic device that simply slips on over the top of upper or lower teeth while a patient is sleeping. It is comfortable to wear and does not interfere with normal breathing during the night. Since grinding or clenching the teeth can disturb sleep patterns, people who wear a Night Guard may find they rest more comfortably.
Dr. Warlick can create a Night Guard that is a custom fit for each patient. Having a properly fitted device is extremely important, as the shape of each person’s mouth is different. Since people also clench or grind their teeth different, it is important to make sure each night guard offers the right protection. A generic “one size fits all” Night Guard simply isn’t adequate to resolve clenching and grinding issues.