Most people don't even realize that they're doing it: grinding and clenching their teeth as a nervous habit. Though it may seem to be an innocent and mindless thing to do, teeth grinding (also called bruxism) can cause a number of serious and expensive dental problems to develop after a while. Learn how to get control of your teeth grinding now with the help of a dentist.
Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?
Tooth Problems Associated with Grinding
Grinding your teeth can become more than just a minor annoyance. It can put you at risk for the following dental health problems:
- Worn down enamel that makes the teeth vulnerable to deep staining and discoloration.
There are easy solutions available at your local dentist’s office to prevent grinding and protect your teeth from damage. The simplest solution is to wear a custom-made mouth guard, night guard, bite guard or similar appliance designed by your dentist. If your bruxism is due to an orthodontic problem, braces may be the suggested solution. A device can also be fitted to help bring the jaw forward. Your dentist will also counsel you on methods to reduce anxiety that causes teeth grinding, including a better diet.
What are Mouth Guards?
As physical fitness is an important part of a healthy life, being involved in sports is a great way to maintain a fit body and mind. However, sports also come with injuries and problems that can be prevented with the proper equipment. Even a single blow to the mouth or jaw can cause serious damage to one’s smile. Therefore, the goal is to prevent this from happening in the first place by opting for the proper dental appliance to protect your smile while in the heat of the game.
Athletic mouthguards are oral appliances that are designed to cover over your teeth to protect them from injury while on the field or court. Contact sports like football or boxing are often at the highest risk for dental injuries, so athletes involved in contact sports should always wear mouthguards.
How Mouthguards Work
Should your smile take a blow during a game, the mouthguard works as additional support to cushion your teeth, and also to disperse and evenly distribute the blow. Furthermore, mouthguards also prevent broken or chipped teeth, as well as prevent lacerations to the soft tissue in the mouth.
Types of Mouthguards
There are many types of mouth guards available, which offer a variety of different prices, fits and purposes. Mouth guards should always be durable but fit comfortably. While over-the-counter mouth guards are available at local drugstores, these inexpensive stock mouth guards often do not offer the protection and fit that most athletes need to safeguard their smiles. Therefore, dentists highly recommend getting custom-made mouth guards. While a bit more expensive, these mouth guards offer superior protection, comfort and fit.
Mouth guards are also highly recommended for athletes who wear braces to protect these orthodontic appliances from damage. Usually mouth guards are worn over the upper teeth only; however, those who also have braces on their lower teeth can opt to wear mouth guards on both the upper and lower set of teeth.
If you or your child could benefit from custom-made mouth guards,