Do you grind your teeth? You may not be aware of it since people often grind their teeth in their sleep. Stress may be one reason, but often the reason is not known.
Grinding your teeth can cause chipping, cracks, flattened or worn-down teeth, and can damage bridges or other dental implants. Untreated, bruxism can cause problems with your jaw muscle or joints,as well as, damage to the teeth.
You may notices the following symptoms:
- A sore, tired jaw
- Sensitivity to hot or cold
- Loose teeth
- Neck aches
- Clicking or popping sounds when you open your mouth
One treatment for bruxism is the use of a night guard while you sleep. A night guard is a processed acrylic device that is custom made to fit your teeth and protect them from damage. Barksdale Dental creates custom-fitted night guards to protect your teeth from night time grinding. Aside from tooth preservation, different types of night guards are made to help alleviate symptoms of headaches, joint damage, and muscle tension. These appliances prevent the back teeth from touching and decreasing the muscle activity allowing the muscles to relax. Ideally, it eliminates morning headaches and muscle soreness.
The night guard is made from a mold of your teeth to provide the best fit and protection. It should be worn nightly, according to your dentist’s instructions.
The guard should be rinsed before and after wearing and brushed gently with a toothbrush to remove any bacteria. Keep your guard in safe place to avoid damage and keep away from pets that can chew the appliance.
A major growing concern among the medical community is obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing the soft tissues to collapse and block the airway. As a result, repeated breathing pauses occur, which can reduce oxygen levels. These breathing pauses are followed by brief awakenings that disturb your sleep. These sleep disturbances can be harmful to your health and well-being.
Common signs of sleep apnea include snoring or choking sounds during sleep. When left untreated, sleep apnea often causes excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue as well as memory loss and morning headaches. Obstructive sleep apnea must be diagnosed with a physician, usually a sleep specialist after a complete sleep evaluation. Once diagnosed several treatment options are available. Oral appliance therapy is a treatment option that is used to treat sleep apnea for mild to moderate cases. At Barksdale Dental, we are starting to provide these oral appliances to patients to assist in their overall health and well-being.