30-40 million. That’s how many adults and children in the U.S suffer from bruxism, a condition that causes a person to clench or grind their teeth, usually at night or during deep sleep. If you’re waking up after a restless sleep with soreness in your jaw, toothaches, jaw muscle contractions, or slight headaches, you may be suffering from bruxism.
Over time, if left untreated, bruxism can lead to issues like:
- Enamel erosion
- Tooth sensitivity
- Long-term facial pain
- Fractured teeth
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)
Okay, so you have all the symptoms above, but now you ask, “How do I fix it?” Keep on reading.
An immediate solution that will offer some relief is a night mouth guard, which you can find at any pharmacy or at your dental office. A mouth guard is a plastic mold that is fitted over the teeth of your upper jaw. Designed to protect your teeth against grinding and clenching, a night mouth guard offers an inexpensive and safe way to prevent long-lasting damage. If you’re not sure what kind of mouth guard you need, we’ve put together a small list to help you figure out which one works for you.
- Boil-and-bite mouth guards: These mouth guards come in one size and can be customized to fit over your teeth by boiling the mouth guard until it softens. It’s then placed over the teeth and molded to fit by biting down.
- Custom-made mouth guards: Custom made by a dentist, these mouth guards are made by taking a mold of your teeth which are then designed to match the shape of your teeth and mouth. Since they are custom fitted for your mouth, they are more comfortable to sleep in. They are more expensive than over-the-counter mouth guards but are often times covered by dental insurance. Custom-made mouth guards are a prime choice if you suffer from sleep apnea, teeth grinding, and snoring.
Long-term solutions to help with teeth grinding and clenching could be as simple as managing stress and practicing relaxation techniques, changing your diet or medication such as cutting out caffeine, or straightening misaligned teeth.
The sooner you can find a solution, the sooner you can catch some well deserved Zzz’s!