If you’re experiencing chronic headaches and migraines by involuntary night-time teeth clenching, let Dentists at ARK Dental Manassas help you with a dental night guard. A dental night guard is a thin transparent device that is worn over the biting surface of your teeth while you sleep to prevent contact between the upper and lower teeth.
Facts About Grinding Your Teeth
- Tooth enamel that is subjected to normal stresses wears down at the rate of .3 millimeters every 10 ten years
- It is possible for those prone to teeth grinders to experience two millimeters of enamel erosion by their mid-twenties.
- Nighttime grinding can occur as often as 40 minutes for every hour of sleep, producing up to 250 pounds of force per square inch.
- That’s enough pressure to crack a walnut!
Note: Just like regular teeth your dentures are subjected to the same stress of teeth grinding.
What Happens If I Grind My Teeth and Don’t Wear a Night Guard?
Bruxism (pronounced BRUK-sizm) is the medical term for forceful clenching and/or grinding of your teeth. It is considered a major cause of tooth problems. Some patients will say that they notice signs of wear, but it is not just a cosmetic problem (although worn down teeth can age you as bad if not worse than wrinkled skin).
- The action of grinding- where your upper and lower teeth move back and forth with great force against each other- causes your teeth to flatten.
- Allowed to persist, grinding causes temperature sensitivity, pain because the wear gets down to the nerve, cracks in the teeth, receding gums and eventually lost teeth.
- To fix these, patients will need crowns, bridges, veneers, implants, extractions, & root canals.
- Grinding can also cause migraine headaches and pain in the shoulders, neck, back and ears.
Causes of Teeth Grinding or Jaw Clenching
- Stress. Increased anxiety or stress can lead to teeth grinding. So can anger and frustration.
- Age, surprisingly it is common in young children, but it usually goes away by the teen years.
- Stimulating substances. Smoking tobacco, drinking caffeinated beverages or alcohol, or taking illegal drugs such as methamphetamine or Ecstasy may increase your risk of grinding your teeth.
- Abnormal alignment of upper and lower teeth.
- Other sleep problems, such as sleep apnea.
- Response to pain from an earache or teething (in children).
- Stomach acid reflux into the esophagus.
- Complication resulting from a disorder such as Huntington’s disease or Parkinson’s disease.
The Dental Night Guard Fitting Process
- Impressions are taken of your upper and lower teeth to confirm an accurate fit
- Using your impressions as a mold, the dental night guard is crafted out of strong, durable plastic
- When the dental night guard is finished, it is properly fitted to your mouth
- Simply wear the dental night guard while you sleep every night
Call us today to schedule a free consultation if you have any symptoms and would like more details about night guards at 703.368.5595.