Night Guards and Custom Athletic Mouth Guards
Experienced West Seneca Dentists Providing Affordable Night Guards and Custom Athletic Mouth Guards
Bruxism, the unrestrained clenching or grinding of one’s teeth, is a common condition that affects between one-eighth and one-third of all adults.
The frequent occurrence of this problem does not make it any less serious, as bruxism can have many detrimental consequences on oral, physical, and mental health. All the factors responsible for bruxism are not known for certain, as the reasons for bruxism while sleeping differ from those that encourage grinding while awake. In addition, bruxism may not be noticeable for the majority of those affected by the condition, and the signs and symptoms of bruxism vary significantly from person to person. Dentists are trained to inspect the mouth for these telltale indicators, and based on the needs of individual patients, they may prescribe night guards to counteract the negative effects of nighttime clenching and grinding.
Bruxism can occur during either or both sleeping and waking hours, and it is the former that has received a wealth of attention from dental care professionals. Nighttime bruxism is recognized as a sleep disorder and possibly an indicator of sleep apnea, a syndrome that can affect overall health. Signs that can suggest the presence of sleep apnea include attrition (wearing) of the surfaces of the teeth, dental sensitivity, looseness of teeth, pain in the temporomandibular joint (the joint near the ear that connects the lower jaw to the skull), headaches, and the constant deterioration of crowns and fillings. When these symptoms occur, they can have effects on both sleep quality and the ability to eat and drink without pain during waking hours. It is imperative that you schedule an appointment with your dentist if you find yourself experiencing any combination of the above, as you may be suffering from undiagnosed sleep bruxism.
Night guards are an effective treatment against the symptoms of sleep bruxism. They will not solve the root of the issue, but night guards can nevertheless work to ensure that grinding does not compromise the integrity of the teeth. Night guards are available without a prescription at most pharmacies, but because these models are largely not customizable, they are less efficient in combating bruxism than those available through dentistry practices. A dentist can design a night guard specifically for an individual patient’s needs by taking an impression of the teeth, fashioning a mold from plaster or a similar material, and submitting the mold to a dental appliance manufacturer for production of a night guard.
Bruxism is not the only force that can weaken the strength of one’s smile; everyday recreational activities can result in accidents that knock teeth out of alignment, crack or chip their crowns, or even force them out of the mouth entirely. No one should have to undergo a consequence as severe as dental avulsion (the displacement of teeth) while playing a sport, and mouth guards are a precaution that can prevent injury to the teeth during athletic pursuits. The American Dental Association highly recommends that people of all ages wear mouth guards designed by their dentists in order to avoid damage to the relatively soft and fragile tissues in the mouth, which face an increased risk of harm during athletic activities.