7 Signs You Need a Bite Guard
Protect your teeth from clenching and grinding with a bite guard.
According to the National Library of Medicine, about 8.6% of the general population suffers from sleep-related bruxism (teeth grinding). Not only that, but dentists reported increased evidence of bruxism in their patients since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this isn’t all that surprising. Teeth grinding is a common occurrence when patients feel stressed or anxious. Unfortunately, grinding your teeth can be dangerous and can cause quite a bit of damage. Bite guards protect the teeth when worn by those who experience bruxism. Read on for 7 signs that you might need a bite guard too.
Let’s start by clarifying exactly what bruxism is and what causes this condition in the first place. Bruxism is when patients grind, gnash, or clench their teeth. Those with bruxism often do it unconsciously during the day and may even do it at night in their sleep. It isn’t exactly clear what causes bruxism. However, medical and dental professionals believe that this clenching and grinding stems from various physical, psychological, and genetic factors.
Patients who grind or clench their teeth during the day, referred to as awake bruxism, may do it because of stress, anxiety, anger, tension, or some other sort of frustration. Clenching and grinding can also happen when one tries to focus on a complex problem, or it can be a coping strategy to help them navigate challenging situations.
Other patients tend to grind or clench their teeth in their sleep. These patients are often more likely to snore or suffer from sleep apnea. Occurrences of sleep bruxism are common in people who take antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Unfortunately, if you have bruxism and it goes untreated, it can have some harmful effects.
Teeth grinding can not only wear away your dental enamel, making you more at risk of tooth decay, but also cause issues with jaw muscles and jaw joints. Thankfully, you don’t have to live with the damaging effects of bruxism. Bite guards can help lessen the impact that clenching and grinding have on your teeth. And when you combine the use of a bite guard with relaxation techniques, you can resolve its root cause and feel much better.
7 Indications That You Need a Bite Guard
Here are some scenarios where a mouth guard or bite appliance can benefit your oral health (and your overall health too).
1. You play sports.
Have you ever noticed that NFL players have some dental appliances in their mouths? This is because football is such a high-contact sport. Even with a helmet on, football players are subject to falls and tackles that can cause stress on the teeth. If you play sports, especially contact sports like football, hockey, or boxing, a sports guard can help protect your teeth while you are at play.
2. Your jaw hurts when you wake up in the morning.
If your jaw hurts when you wake up in the morning, there is a strong possibility that you are clenching or grinding your teeth when you sleep. A nightguard for bruxism can ensure that your teeth do not come into contact while resting. Not only will a nightguard help protect your teeth, but it will help you get a better night’s sleep.
3. You wake up with a headache.
Bruxism can also cause headaches from the tension you are putting on your teeth and jaw. If you wake up with headaches frequently, it is best to contact your physician to discuss. However, if you wake up with a headache regularly and your Greenville family dentist notices that your enamel is wearing away, then a mouth guard can help.
4. You know you clench or grind your teeth.
If you know that you clench or grind your teeth, then an oral appliance can help protect them from undue pressure. Bite guards are custom-fitted oral devices that cover your upper teeth and provide cushion between the upper and lower jaws. Wearing a bite guard lessens your risks of developing broken teeth, extensive wear, or other damage.
5. You have sensitive teeth.
Sensitive teeth are often caused by worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots, though it can be due to other factors, such as a cracked tooth, gum disease, worn filling, or cavity. Because your enamel may already be worn down, clenching and grinding can make your teeth more sensitive than they already are. A mouth guard prevents the upper and lower teeth from touching, forcing your jaw muscles to relax.
6. Your teeth seem to be getting shorter.
Patients who excessively grind and clench their teeth often report that their teeth seem shorter than they used to be. And this is because the pressure and friction wear the enamel away over time, leaving less tooth structure remaining.
7. Your dentist, parent, or significant other recommends a bite guard.
If your dentist sees evidence of bruxism, the usual treatment method is a custom-fitted mouth guard. But sometimes parents want their kids to wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports or if they are stressed when sleeping. On other occasions, your sleep partner might wake from your teeth grinding and want you to wear a bite appliance for a better night’s sleep.
Your Greenville family dentist can help you with a bite guard to protect your teeth.
Protect your teeth and jaw today with a mouth guard. If you feel you need a bite guard to protect your teeth, the next step is to request an appointment with Monroe Family Dentistry. We’re convinced that we’re the best dentist near Greenville, South Carolina, and we’re confident you’ll agree.