If you wake up in the morning with neck pain, jaw pain, and a headache, you may have a condition known as bruxism. This common condition causes nighttime jaw clenching and teeth grinding, which can severely damage the teeth and lead to such complications as TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) and chronic migraines. An occlusal guard, also known as a night guard, can help protect your teeth and prevent future TMJ issues.
Complications of Bruxism
Bruxism can wreak havoc on not only your teeth, but on your overall health and wellbeing. Your teeth are strong, but they are not designed to take the constant pressure of a clenched jaw. Over time, bruxism can cause:
- Worn down teeth or abrasion
- Jaw pain
- Damaged chewing surfaces
- Cracked enamel
- Fractured teeth
- Elevated risk of tooth decay
- Loose or shifting teeth
- Tooth loss
In addition, clenching and grinding the teeth causes extreme muscle tension. Pain in the head, neck, and shoulders is common. The temporomandibular joints that connect the jaw to the skull can become inflamed, causing additional pain in the neck and shoulders, as well as the ears. You may also notice clicking, popping, and locking in your jaw.
How Night Guards Help
A night guard is designed to keep your back teeth separated as you sleep and your jaw in a resting state. This protects the teeth from damage and helps to relax the tense muscles, reducing or eliminating pain.
While off the shelf night guards are available at drugstores and big box stores, they tend to feel bulky and uncomfortable.They often times do not fit and cause additional issues to arise. We create custom night guards that are specifically fitted to your teeth, jaws, and bite. You will find our guards to be smaller, thinner, and far more comfortable than an off the shelf guard.
Call 440-247-8641 to schedule your first appointment.