Bruxism, or grinding of the teeth, is one of the most common sources of dental problems and can result from a variety of causes, including emotional distress, sleep apnea, jaw misalignment, stomach acid reflux, physical conditions such as Parkinson's disease, and as a side effect of certain medications. As a result of this continuous grinding, you may cause significant damage to your teeth, including wearing down the tooth structure, increasing sensitivity, disturbing dental restorations, and fracturing teeth. You may also experience other physical effects such as headaches, jaw pain, earaches, and facial soreness. Night guards offer a simple way of protecting yourself from damage of bruxism to preserve your oral health and improve your quality of life.
The Benefits of Custom-Fitted Night Guards
Night guards are worn while you sleep to discourage and minimize the impact of grinding. These appliances work by creating a cushion between your teeth to eliminate the abrasion of enamel on enamel while also distributing the force of the bite evenly across your teeth to protect against wear. As an additional benefit, night guards reduce stress on the jaw joints and muscles to alleviate pain.
The efficacy of a night guard is highly dependent on its design and construction. Custom-fitted night guards are the best option to ensure your night guard is durable, functions effectively, and fits comfortably. The fitting process begins when Dr. Shepherd makes impressions of your teeth and sends them to our trusted lab, where your night guard will be tailored to your exact specifications using the highest quality materials. Once back at our office, you will try on the appliance, allowing Dr. Shepherd to confirm an optimal fit and make any adjustments necessary.
Getting to the Root of Bruxism
It is important to remember that teeth grinding is often a symptom of a larger physical or emotional problem. While night guards can be instrumental in protecting your teeth while you are experiencing bruxism, we urge you to seek further guidance to address any underlying issues that may be contributing to your teeth grinding.
We invite you to contact us with any questions about night guards or any other general or cosmetic dental services you may need. We are happy to set up an appointment in our Fountain Valley office to get to know you and discuss how we can meet your treatment needs.