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An Afro-American woman putting a dental nightguard on.

People of all ages grind or clench their teeth while sleeping. It is believed that for many of these individuals, this is in response to stress. Bruxism affects millions of people, including children. Most children outgrow the habit after a few years. Some adults only grind or clench their teeth when under an unusual amount of stress. Others, however, experience the problems associated with chronic bruxism and clenching in general when sleeping.

When clenching and grinding the teeth become a problem, various symptoms begin to show. Among them are pain in the jaw that can radiate to the head, neck and shoulders. Tremendous pressure is exerted on the teeth, which places additional stress on jaw muscles and can cause damage to the teeth as well.

With every bite you take, the muscles and ligaments of your jaw are affected. Normally, sleeping provides the necessary time for muscles and ligaments to relax and repair. The body’s natural healing processes go to work during sleep. When bruxism is an issue, the jaw muscles are not at rest. They continue to get a pressurized workout, causing muscles and ligaments to become overworked and fatigued.

In addition to sore, aching muscles and associated discomfort, the teeth themselves experience unnecessary wearing. Tooth enamel can erode, making the outer surface thinner and more susceptible to decay. Some individuals completely wear away the surface of enamel. Chipping and breakage are also common among chronic grinders and clenchers. The good news is that help is available with a nightguard.

Treatment for Bruxism

Correct diagnosis of the problem is the first step in getting treatment. There are different types of nightguards that can help protect the teeth and alleviate the discomfort and damage caused by grinding and clenching.

Nightguards fit over your teeth in a similar fashion as the mouthguard fits over the teeth of an athlete. The teeth cannot come together when this dental appliance is in place. They create a barrier to prevent the wear and tear of tooth enamel. Nightguards also hold the teeth in a position to minimize jaw pressure from clenching.

Bruxism and clenching can have a negative impact on your oral health. A nightguard protects your teeth. Stop ruining your teeth, and make an appointment at Mint Dental. Dr. Antoinette Liles will diagnose your problem and recommend the nightguard that will be most effective for you.


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Antoinette Liles, DMD and her dental assistant performing dental treatment.
Antoinette Liles, DMD and her dental assistant performing pediatric dental treatment.
Happy National Dentist Day. Antoinette Liles, DMD performing dental checkup.
Antoinette Liles, DMD in the treatment room.
Antoinette Liles, DMD

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