Many people aren’t even aware they’re doing it until their dentist discovers the all too familiar signs of teeth grinding. Nighttime grinding, or as it’s professionally called Bruxism, is a serious disorder that can lead to enamel being worn away from the teeth. When there’s not enough enamel a tooth becomes weakened eventually cracking or breaking.
Approximately half of the adult population grinds their teeth at night, but only about a fifth of those people do it to an extent severe enough to damage their teeth. Some of the symptoms of nighttime grinding are having a painful jaw, sore and sensitive teeth, headaches, earaches, even strained muscles in the neck. While these symptoms are bad enough, a more severe sign can be your jaw “popping”. Some people even report dreams of breaking their teeth.
Unfortunately, while people sleep they can’t stop themselves from the sheer force with which they are gnashing their teeth. So what can individuals who suffer from this affliction do to stop themselves from this destructive behavior? The first step is to purchase a night guard to protect their teeth. While it won’t stop the grinding, it will stop the damage being done to the tooth surfaces. Night guards and NTI Appliances are available through dentist’s offices. Typically, insurance companies don’t cover the cost of a night guard. A night guard is a plastic cover custom molded by your dentist to your teeth. Much like a sports mouth guard, but it is better fitting and less bulky. Although grinding and clenching are still present your teeth are protected from damage. An NTI Appliance protects teeth, muscles and joints by suppressing parafunctional muscle contraction by almost 70%. Originally developed to prevent migraine pain, the NTI Appliance is proven to be a superior alternative to full coverage bite guards. The appliance also gives dentists a way to simply and effectively treat patients suffering from tension and migraine headaches by reducing the intensity of jaw clenching while the patient sleeps. The NTI Appliance is smaller, less bulky and won't trigger a gag reflex. Because it is more comfortable, patients actually wear it. The appliance also helps prevent grinding and night time clenching.
Wearing a night guard won’t cure teeth grinding, so it’s important to try and get to the root of the problem. Most theories about this syndrome revolve around severe stress. If individuals can find other ways to relieve their stress while awake, it will help to cut down on the chance they will take it out on their teeth at night while sleeping. Visualization techniques or practicing yoga before bedtime help to calm the body and prepare it for sleep. Some people swear by relaxation CDs and breathing exercises to let go of the stresses of their daily lives.
If you’re someone who suffers from Bruxism, it’s important to be proactive in protecting your teeth and finding ways to relieve your stress. In addition to saving yourself from possible expensive procedures to correct tooth damage, you’ll be dealing with stress issues that can lead to other health problems in the future.