If you consistently wake up in the morning with jaw pain and headaches, one of the most likely causes of those symptoms is grinding your teeth while you’re asleep.
And one of the best methods to keep the problem from causing you pain is a night guard that keeps you from putting unnecessary pressure on your jaw.
At Airport Dental Care in Austin, Texas, Dr. Brian LaBombard and our expert team have helped many patients by providing custom night guards to alleviate the problem of teeth grinding.
Here’s how the process works.
Why you might need a night guard
The medical term for grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw is bruxism. Most people don’t even know they’re experiencing bruxism until someone tells them, but it can damage both the structure and the enamel of your teeth.
Bruxism can also cause headaches, along with pain and tension in your jaw and neck.
We don’t know exactly why people have bruxism, but it’s likely a combination of genetic, psychological, and physical factors.
You’re more likely to grind your teeth if you’re naturally competitive and aggressive, if you’re under intense stress, or if you’re frustrated. Using tobacco, caffeine, and alcohol can also increase your risk.
If you’ve done what you can to keep calm and relaxed as you prepare for bed (manage your stress, take a hot bath, meditate, etc.) and you’re still waking up with jaw pain, it’s time to consider a night guard.
How does a night guard work?
A custom night guard looks similar to the trays dentists use to whiten or straighten your teeth. It fits over your teeth and stabilizes your jaw, preventing you from grinding or clenching as you sleep.
A custom-fitted guard (rather than a cheap one from the drugstore) can also shift your teeth and jaw into the proper alignment. This can also help ease tension, headaches, and pain. Plus a custom guard lasts longer and fits more comfortably, so you’re more likely to actually wear it.
If your dentist determines a night guard can benefit you, they take an impression of your teeth, which is used to create a custom guard specifically for you. Most people get used to wearing their night guard fairly quickly, so it should be no trouble to use it every night.
You don’t have to live with jaw pain. Contact Airport Dental Care today — just call our office to set up an appointment, or book your appointment online.