Many people clench or grind their teeth, usually at night while sleeping. However, some people also do this while awake during extreme periods of stress or boredom. This grinding or clenching action is called bruxism. Bruxism can be very damaging, resulting in worn teeth, mobile teeth, sore muscles, and stiff and painful jaw joints (TMJs). If left untreated over time, teeth can become more sensitive and destroyed to the point of being damaged. The chronic grinding creates muscle tension in the face, neck, head and shoulders, resulting in frequent headaches or pain in facial tissues, also known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
Correcting problems with damaged or lost teeth and TMD can require extensive dental work such as crowns, bridges, dentures or dental implants. In some extreme cases total reconstruction, including surgery, is needed to correct TMD issues.
A custom-fitted, hard, transparent oral device that covers all of the teeth in one arch (usually the upper arch), can help protect you from the damage of bruxism. This is known as a night guard because it should be worn at night or any time you find yourself grinding or clenching your teeth. Getting a night guard in Allentown, Pennsylvania, can also help protect all the expensive dental work you have already invested in! Call Oral Dynamics today at 610-435-5707 to learn more or schedule a visit with our dentist, Dr. Michael Rowland.