Not all types of jaw pain respond well to a night guard, but if you grind your teeth in your sleep, you will most definitely see an improvement in pain while wearing one. Some people grind their teeth and might not even know about it. However, there are signs this might be happening, the most common ones being worn-out teeth and sore jaw muscles.
To help you out, we asked our experts at iSmiles Kids Dentistry and Orthodontics in Corona, California, when a night guard makes sense for treating jaw pain and who is the right candidate for it.
Jaw pain can be caused by a number of medical conditions, including infections, arthritis, periodontal disease, dental abscesses, and bruxism. Some people may experience headaches, when in fact the pain comes from their jaw but radiates upwards.
Bruxism, the involuntary clenching and grinding of the teeth, is the most common cause of jaw pain. It can be caused or exacerbated by antidepressant medications, alcohol intake, and anxiety disorders. Some experience bruxism during the day, others during the night. Most people who have it during the night aren’t aware of it, but they may notice their sleep is disturbed.
Jaw pain that appears in the morning with sore jaw muscles is most likely caused by bruxism.
Night guards are a first-line treatment for jaw pain caused by bruxism. Night guards are custom-made, and fit snuggly on top of your teeth, preventing the teeth from rubbing against each other. Night guards also alleviate pain by allowing the jaw to stay in its proper position during the night, preventing painful muscle overuse.
If the cause of bruxism is linked to anxiety and stress, the involuntary movements may get better with adequate stress management strategies However, you shouldn’t delay protecting your teeth and your jaw muscles. Left untreated, bruxism can lead to worn-out, damaged teeth.
Night guards can be found over the counter too, but if they are not custom-made, they may be putting pressure on your teeth, causing misalignments and bite problems.
Not everyone benefits from using night guards, but there’s an easy way for you to find out what could improve your jaw pain: a visit to our dental office. Contact us to schedule an appointment to find out what could be causing your discomfort. Our experts provide custom-made night guards that fit your teeth and bite perfectly and don’t have any negative long-term impact on your bite.