Studies have shown that 1 in 3 American adults suffer from bruxism, or excessive teeth grinding, and jaw clenching. There are two types – awake bruxism and sleep bruxism. What follows is a rundown of sleep bruxism, which is teeth grinding in sleep.
Bruxism is a condition in which you grind your teeth or clench your jaws. A night guard is a transparent thin device you wear over the biting surface of the teeth while sleeping. It prevents touching of the top and bottom teeth. Night Guards are used to relaxing your jaws while you are sleeping and prevent the grinding of teeth and clenching. Night Guards are mainly used as mouth guards for teeth grinding or bruxism. Night Guards for bruxism or teeth grinding are usually made up of hard, durable, heat-cured plastic. There are other varieties of mouth guards for teeth grinding that use regular and soft acrylic-based materials to increase patient comfort. You can brush the night guard using a toothbrush and toothpaste and then rinse it with warm water. Dr. Orfaly may also give you an antimicrobial solution in which you can soak your night guards to remove any foreign organisms.
Diagnosing sleep bruxism has long posed a challenge to doctors and patients. While a dentist will provide the most comprehensive diagnosis, patients can also detect symptoms of bruxism or teeth grinding in several ways:
Self-Diagnosis: Patients can often detect their own bruxism or teeth grinding symptoms such as tooth mobility and wear, hypersensitivity, mouth abrasions, and jaw muscle soreness.
Feedback From Others: The most common form of diagnosis of bruxism or teeth grinding is through feedback from housemates and loved ones. Be proactive and ask your mates about the frequency and intensity of your teeth grinding.
Occlusal Factors/Bite Configuration: Occlusion is defined as ‘contact between teeth.’ Occlusal interferences (discrepancies with the normal path of the bite) were historically believed to be the sole cause of bruxism or teeth grinding.
Stress and Other Psychosocial Factors: While bruxism or teeth grinding is generally thought to be caused by stress, evidence is still inconclusive. Emotional stress, including that caused by anxiety, frustration, aggressiveness, and hyperactivity, has been closely examined as a cause for bruxism or teeth grinding.
Medication: While not conclusive, certain drugs (dopamine agonists, dopamine antagonists, tricyclic antidepressants, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, alcohol, cocaine, and amphetamines) have been studied to cause bruxism or teeth grinding.
Genetics: While genetic markers have not been identified, 21-50% of those with sleep bruxism or teeth grinding have a direct family member who also had the condition as a child.
Grinding or Tapping Noises
Excessive Tooth Wear and Fractures
Tooth Soreness and Movement
Jaw Pain and Soreness
Night guards protect you from sleep bruxism. Not wearing a night guard can cause frequent clenching and grinding of teeth which can eventually lead to any of the following outcomes:
Chronic Headache: Chronic headaches can be caused by frequent clenching and grinding of teeth. If you frequently wake up with a headache, then bruxism might be the cause. Pressure on the jaw due to clenching and grinding of teeth can cause headaches.
Teeth Wear: When the enamel starts wearing down, the teeth underneath are prone to cavities, fracture, crack, and damage. The teeth wear can be detected by your dentist during dental checkups and mouth examinations.
TMJ: Temporomandibular Joint disorder affects the muscles to chew and joints connecting your jaw and skull. While the disorder can be caused by various factors, one of the reasons is bruxism.
Tooth pain: If you experience tooth pain and do not have cavities, the pain may be due to bruxism.
While night guards are available over the counter, it is always advisable to get custom-made guards from your dentist. Because the dentist can advise you of the best-suited guards depending on your jaw measurements.
At Fisher & Orfaly Dental, impressions of your upper and lower teeth will be taken using Digital Dental Impressions. A plaster cast is made using the impressions and sent to the dental lab. The dental laboratory will create a custom-made guard. Dr. Orfaly will check the fitting on your teeth. Any adjustments required will be made before you carry them home.
Management and treatment of bruxism include solutions that both help manage bruxism activity but also the negative physical effects of it.
Dental Guards or Occlusal Splints offer protection of teeth against bruxism but does not reduce bruxism activity.
To fabricate your night guard, we will take accurate dental impressions that a professional dental laboratory will use to construct the dental night guard.
Go for a custom-made guard
We strongly recommend you go for a custom-made night guard as that will fit you well as compared to other available options.
Position the night guard properly
Make sure you are wearing the night guards properly so that they don’t slip after you wear them.
Get the timing right
We advise you to wear the night guards at least 10 minutes before you go to bed.
Night guards are often covered by your dental insurance benefits. To determine the dental insurance coverage, do not hesitate to ask us for an estimate on your custom-fitted night guard.
Coming to Dr Orfaly is The best decision I could have made. I didn’t have a dentist for years and they saw me when I had an emergency. Now I am getting all of my dental work here, perfect caps, bridges and hygiene. I highly recommend Dr Orfaly and his staff.
After having a negative experience with a filling with a past dentist, I was nervous to go to a new dentist with tooth pain. Dr. Orfaly and team were very understanding and knowledgable when walking me through my options for a cracked tooth. 10/10 would recommend due to their professionalism, attention to detail, and level of care. Thanks team!
Dr Orfaly is the best dentist around! I have alot of anxiety around going to the dentist & Dr Orfaly always makes sure to check in to see how I'm doing & is so nice. If a referral is needed to a specialist, he makes the call for you & gets you an appt quickly (mine was even the same day) I love how they book you with the same dental hygienist for all cleanings.. Adds another level of comfort... Shoutout to mine, Kathy!
Dr. George Orfaly is a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry and has been practicing as a dentist in Salem, MA since 2005. He has consistently improved the lives of his patients by providing them relief, confidence, and healthy smiles. He believes that oral health is directly related to overall health and well-being. Dr. Orfaly has also been an active member of the American Dental Association, Massachusetts Dental Society, and North Shore District Dental Society.