Did your dentist just tell you that you need a nightguard? Yet, You don’t see anything wrong with your teeth?
“Yes. No cavities. No discolorations. Perhaps a little hypersensitivity once in a blue moon? Or an unexplained neck stiffness? Oh, but that has nothing to do with my teeth!! The pillow wasn’t in the right place! And those occasional sensitive teeth? Who doesn’t have those? Conclusion: I know my body better than the dentist. I definitely don’t need a nightguard.”
Now let’s see what a nightguard is advised for. The condition is called BRUXISM. The American Academy of Orofacial Pain defines it as “diurnal or nocturnal parafunctional activity including clenching, bracing, gnashing, and grinding of the teeth.”
How did the dentist know you are a bruxer;(when you are absolutely sure you are not)?
A very simple answer – BY LOOKING AT YOUR TEETH.
Still not sure if you are a teeth clencher?
Here is a picture of symptoms and signs present in your entire face, neck, head and jaws that you might have never thought to be related to this habit of yours! Take a look.
By now if you have understood that you do have bruxism, lets move on to see why does it happen and what is the role of a nightguard.
Causes of Bruxism:
This condition has a multifactorial etiology. I have attempted to depict below the usual causes. Sometimes it’s because of a single constant stimulant, sometimes its because of all of these creating a cumulative effect.
By looking at the image above if you feel that you might have bruxism, lets move on to see why does it happen and what is the role of a nightguard.
Nightguards put a barrier between your teeth.
When you clench your jaw, the night guard helps to distribute the pressure and give cushion to the muscles in the jaw. This cushioning not only helps to prevent face and jaw pain, but also protects the enamel of your teeth from getting further worn down and getting chipped off.
While a nightguard will not reverse the physical wear down of your teeth, it will definitely give relief from the pain and stiffness. it might not undo what’s been done, but it will definitely not let it worsen.
I hope, after reading this, you will pick up that nightguard kept on your nightstand and wear it.
I hope, you go back to your dentist and get that pending nightguard made.
I also hope, for those of you who have had these symptoms, but were never really sure where they were coming from, you will make an appointment with your dentist and go get yourself checked today.
It might start with a small chipping of the teeth, or perhaps a mild soreness in facial muscles, but don’t let it make your old age full of painful jaws and stiffer neck! Get your teeth checked; Today.
Finally, before you think that bruxism is only prevalent in kids, think again. Look for signs of grinding in your 1 year old, or wait, you, in your 11 years old kid too and wait for my next blog where I will shed some light on how bruxism might be affecting your tiny tots.
Feel free to get in touch with me if you have any queries!
Dr. Chetna Kumar
BDS, MDS, FAGE
Certified Invisalign Provider