A night guard can be a very effective treatment for jaw pain. St. Lawrence Dentistry will ensure a personalized, perfectly calibrated appliance that is custom made for you. Night guards are made of high-grade plastic. They are worn at night and they prevent the upper teeth from grinding against the lower teeth.
Signs you may need a night guard are soreness/pain in the jaw joint when you wake up in the morning, difficulty opening or closing your mouth, sensitivity in your teeth, and frequent headaches. In addition, if your teeth look like they are continually wearing down (becoming shorter) you may need a night guard as you may be grinding your teeth. If these symptoms are left unchecked damage to your jaw joint or your teeth may ensue.
There are many factors associated with teeth grinding and jaw pain. There is a high correlation between smoking/alcohol use and teeth grinding/clenching. The etiology may be related to elevated dopamine level during these habits. If you are a smoker or drinker and are experiencing issues with jaw soreness please alert the staff at St. Lawrence Dentistry. The first step of alleviating jaw soreness may be a program to reduce these habits.
To learn more about smoking cessation please visit our link.
Stress and anxiety are correlate highly with temporomandibular jaw pain and grinding. Stress is loosely defined at our brain’s reaction any external demand. It can also be real or perceived, recurring or prolonged. On a microscopic level, the body deals with stress by pumping hormones and chemicals into the brain and body. This is a normal response. However, the world we live in has fairly regular demands on our time and energy, and can lead to prolonged or chronic stress. This is often when stress becomes linked to teeth grinding or bruxism.
Some medications such as SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are reported to have a link to teeth grinding and clenching. Examples of these are Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, Effexor. Sometimes altering the dose of the medications can help. In other cases, even if the dose is altered the bruxism can continue.
Teeth misalignment is a leading case of jaw pain. If you are missing teeth this can put more stress on the remaining teeth and cause your bite to change when you close. In other scenarios, sometimes teeth can be perfectly straight and aligned but in order for your teeth to close (intercuspate) your jaw joint must shift. This, in effect, loads one jaw joint and dislocates the other jaw joint.
There is currently no cure for bruxism but it can be controlled. If you grind your teeth during the day or at night, Drs. Hawryluk and Taheri may recommend a night guard to protect your teeth from these grinding forces. A night guard is a plastic cover that fits over your teeth to deflect the hard forces of chewing. Night guards will also increase the longevity of your dental work.
Dr. Taheri is a Board Certified Prosthodonitst and is an expert in diagnosing and treating jaw pain.
To learn more about the dental specialty of Dental Prosthodontics please visit our blog article.
We will go over the night guard process in detail with you if it is determined a night guard (bite splint) is an appropriate treatment for you. The first step will be to take impressions of your teeth. The night guard will then be fabricated and at a separate visit it will be tried in. The guard must fit perfectly and the teeth must occlude (bite) against the guard in a very specific way. It is not uncommon for the guard to be then sent back our dental laboratory lab for further refinement. The objective of the guard is to simulate perfect occlusion (bite). We calibrate your guard for the perfect fit in all motions your jaw makes (centric, side to side, and protrusive). We will pay close attention to how your teeth bite together with your night guard to ensure your jaw joint (temporomandibular joint) is in the most harmonious position when wearing the guard. This can go a long way in helping to eliminate symptoms like headaches or jaw pain you may be having.
St. Lawrence Dentistry has had tremendous success in helping patients with jaw pain by fabricating properly fitting night guards. If you would like to discuss how you may benefit from this treatment please call us.