For some patients, headaches and jaw pain can reduce quality of life. A clenching and grinding habit, called bruxism, or regular jaw pain, called temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD), can make sleeping, waking up, and chewing uncomfortable.
A nocturnal clenching and grinding habit places excessive wear on your teeth and also leads to:
When left untreated, bruxism can cause degeneration or dysfunction with your jaw joint. TMJD can cause additional symptoms including:
Without treatment, TMJD rarely resolves on its own and can cause irreparable damage to your teeth and jaw joints.
The first line of treatment for both bruxism and TMJD includes behavior modification and an occlusal guard, or night guard. Certain behaviors should also be avoided, such as:
By incorporating stress management techniques and exercise, you may be able to reduce the amount of bruxing you experience.
A nightguard provides a barrier between your upper and lower teeth. Made of hard acrylic, a nightguard (splint) prevents your teeth from meeting and grinding against each other. This helps prevent fractures, cracks, and wear. Since acrylic is softer than your enamel, it can also provide relief from headaches. The acrylic on the surface of your nightguard can be adjusted in such a way to gently guide the position of your jaw into a more relaxed posture.
We also offer smaller profile nightguards that fit over your upper or lower front teeth. This type of guard is known as The NTI, and it keeps your posterior teeth from coming together. It also guides your jaw into a more comfortable position.
While nightguards and splints provide protection from damage due to clenching and grinding, athletic mouthguards provide protection from sports, activities, and trauma.
Athletic mouthguards are useful for athletes who participate in sports such as:
We recommend them for any activity where you could sustain damage from a flying object or by falling.
Mouthguards protect your teeth by absorbing some of the force from impact. We create custom mouthguards to provide you with the most comfortable option that fits snugly and stays put when you need it most.
If you think you could benefit from a nightguard or athletic mouthguard, contact our West Caldwell, NJ dental office to schedule with Dr. David Magid. We look forward to creating a preventive treatment plan that works well for you.