Chewing or grinding of the teeth is a very common habit seen in patients, and for the most part it doesn’t become a medical issue. But for some, this activity can lead to serious issues with the teeth and the jaw.
Bruxism, the medical term for persistent teeth grinding, can alter the shape of the teeth or even how they sit within the mouth. If left untreated, this can require cosmetic dental work or even surgery!
Today, your Austin, MN dentist writes on how a night guard may be beneficial for your smile.
What Is Bruxism?
Bruxism is the collision of the jaw due to unconscious movement. This can be grinding, but also gnashing or jaw clenching, as well. There are two forms of the condition, depending on whether the activity takes place while the patient is awake or asleep during the action.
Both sleep and wake bruxism can cause serious damage to the teeth and overall oral health. Those with bruxism are much more likely to experience other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea (stopping breathing while sleeping) and snoring. The tension and muscle strain can also lead to nagging, persistent headaches.
Is It Really That Serious?
For many patients, bruxism doesn’t cause much concern. It either isn’t persistent or severe enough for them to seek medical attention. But it often becomes worse over time, and the moment you notice any changes in the shape of your teeth or the comfort of your bite, you should speak with a dentist.
Beyond the flattening and cracking of teeth, cheek-biting might become an issue. When there are open wounds within the mouth, bacterial infections become much more likely. As the mouth is the largest opening into the body, there is always an inherent danger of infection.
Also, the pain is something to consider. Bruxism is a condition that rarely improves without help, so waiting can only lead to more pain. It’s always better to attend to things of this nature as quickly as possible to limit damage.
What Are Night Guards?
Boil and bite mouthguards are the most common night guards, which are over the counter products that you can find at the drugstore or grocery store. Made of a thermoplastic, by placing the guard into boiling water, you soften it. Afterward, you bite down firmly onto the mouthguard.
If your dentist determines that a more intensive course of action is necessary, they will most likely suggest a custom protector. Made out of a harder material than boil and bite guards, these are formed using a mold that the dentist makes of the mouth. This mold is then sent to a laboratory, where technicians create a slim, sleek protector that is similar to a retainer.
Contact us today for more information or with any questions that you have!
ABOUT YOUR AUSTIN, MN, DENTIST:
Our team offers our patients and their family access to comprehensive dental care, including general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. To schedule an appointment with the Potach and Mitchell Dental Clinic, contact our Austin, MN dental office today by calling 507-437-6312. Our office welcomes patients from Austin, MN and surrounding communities.