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Night Guards In Poulsbo, WA

Kitsap Dental Clinic is Conveniently Located in Poulsbo Washington But Serves Four Corners, Lofall, Breidablick, Scandia, Lemolo, Keyport, Brownsville, Suquamish And Agate Point.

Unless a person has a spouse, it can be difficult for them to know what they do in their sleep. While some people only have issues with tossing and turning, others have much more dangerous issues like bruxism and TMJ. These disorders can cause severe damage to a patient’s oral health, and can be extremely painful. Worst of all, a patient may not even know what the cause of the issue is!

By knowing more about bruxism and TMJ, you’ll better be able to understand if you may have one of these issues, and then seek out the treatment that you need.

What Is Bruxism? What Is TMJ?

If you are the type to clench and grind your teeth at night, you have an oral health issue known as bruxism. This condition may seem innocuous, but it can quickly lead to more severe oral health issues, like TMJ.

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) is a condition in which the area where a patient’s lower jaw is connected to their skull becomes injured or inflamed. This is a very painful condition, and needs to be treated before it causes lasting damage.

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What Causes TMJ and Bruxism?

There are a variety of different issues that may be contributing to bruxism or TMJ. Some of these issues include:

  • High levels of ongoing stress.
  • Frequent alcohol consumption.
  • Caffeine and stimulants near bedtime.
  • Chewing on non-food items.

TMJ specifically may also be caused by:

  • Injury
  • Arthritis
  • Bruxism
  • Dislocation of the Cushioning Disc of the Joint

Because some of these issues are behavioral, small changes in habits and behaviors may actually help to treat or cure bruxism and TMJ. Still, the symptoms of the underlying issue is bruxism and TMJ, so these issues need to be treated until the underlying issue is fully resolved. If bruxism and TMJ are not treated, they can cause damage that can be anywhere from annoying to dangerous.

Damage It Can Cause

There are different health issues that both bruxism and TMJ can cause. For bruxism, some of these issues include:

  • Headaches
  • Jaw Pain
  • Hearing Loss
  • Teeth Fractures
  • Loose Teeth
  • Worn Teeth

The health issues that TMJ may cause include:

  • Trouble Chewing
  • Lockjaw
  • Jaw Fatigue
  • Pain in the Neck, Face, Jaw and/or Shoulders

Some of these oral health issues, such as loose teeth and fractures, may require more serious oral health treatments, or even teeth repair prosthetics such as dental veneers or dental crowns. Because of all of the damage that both of these conditions can cause, it’s vital to treat them as soon as possible. One excellent way to treat both bruxism and TMJ is with a night guard.

 

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What Is a Night Guard?

A night guard (also known as an occlusal guard) is a special dental appliance custom made for each specific patient to ensure the health of their teeth and jaw. Night guards help to treat bruxism and TMJ, and prevent overnight grinding and clenching—in turn avoiding broken, chipped or cracked teeth, as well as headaches, lockjaw and more. A night guard also helps a patient’s partner to get a better night’s sleep, as it stops the grinding noise that may be keeping them up at night.

Night guards themselves are very similar to a sporting mouth guard. They are generally made from a clear plastic, and are made to fit a patient’s upper teeth.

Sleep Apnea Splint

Another appliance similar to a night guard to treat sleep apnea is what is called a “splint.” A splint is a plastic appliance that helps to ensure the proper breathing of a patient with sleep apnea through the night.

Care for Your Night Guard

It is important for a patient’s overall oral health to keep their night guard clean. Without cleaning the night guard regularly, there is the risk of bacteria forming. To remove plaque, consider using a soft toothbrush and toothpaste to brush the mouth guard. You can also soak it in a dental solution weekly. Continue to brush, floss and rinse nightly to lower the amount of plaque and debris in the night guard.

Are Night Guards Comfortable?

Night guards are made so they are comfortable to wear on the inside, and durable on the outside. This helps to ensure the safety of the patient, while still allowing the patient to sleep through the night without discomfort. While there is an adjustment period for most patients to get used to the night guard while sleeping, it is often quite short and patients find that they are able to sleep just fine with the night guard fairly quickly.

Treating the Root Issue

In order to help to ensure that you cut down on your clenching or grinding, consider your lifestyle and what changes you can make. This may mean decreasing caffeine or alcohol intake, or finding ways to reduce stress. The more you treat the root issues at home, the easier it will be for your dentist to help treat bruxism or TMJ.

Care for Your Night Guard

It is important for a patient’s overall oral health to keep their night guard clean. Without cleaning the night guard regularly, there is the risk of bacteria forming. To remove plaque, consider using a soft toothbrush and toothpaste to brush the mouth guard. You can also soak it in a dental solution weekly. Continue to brush, floss and rinse nightly to lower the amount of plaque and debris in the night guard.

Speak with Your Dentist

If your partner lets you know that you are grinding your teeth in your sleep, or if you are experiencing the symptoms listed above, make sure to set an appointment with your dentist for as soon as possible. There is a likelihood (especially if your partner complains about you making noise in your sleep) that you have either bruxism or TMJ. Your dentist will help you to diagnose the issue, as well as create a night guard for your needs.

It’s also important to discuss the reasons for bruxism and TMJ, and see if your dentist and you can get to the root of the problem. There is a likelihood that the bruxism or TMJ is treatable with certain lifestyle changes. If the issue is related to anxiety, your dentist may refer you to other medical professionals to treat the root of the issue.

Call your dentist today if you feel that you may have bruxism or TMJ, so they can take a look and provide the treatment that you need.

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