A nightguard (mouthguard) 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. The material used to construct night guards is high-grade plastic. It fits over your teeth, and it prevents the upper teeth from grinding against the lower teeth.
Signs you may need this type of dental appliance are a 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. Also, if your teeth look like they are continually wearing down (becoming shorter), you may need a nightguard 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 levels 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 is our brain’s reaction to any external demand, and there is a high correlation with temporomandibular jaw pain. 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. However, the world we live in has regular demands on our time and energy and can lead to prolonged or chronic stress. Teeth grinding and bruxism can closely be associated with chronic stress.
Some medications, such as SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) 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, the bruxism continues even if the medicines are changed.
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 for your teeth to close (intercuspation), your jaw joint must shift. In effect, this loads one jaw joint and dislocates the other.
There is currently no cure for bruxism, but there are effective treatments. If you grind your teeth during the day or at night, Dr. Hawryluk may recommend a mouthguard to protect your teeth from these grinding forces. Nightguards will also increase the longevity of your dental work.
The first step is, of course, an accurate diagnosis. Dr. Hawryluk will determine if a nightguard (bite splint) is an appropriate treatment for you. After dental impressions, a nightguard is fabricated and tried on your teeth. The guard must fit perfectly, and the teeth must occlude (bite) against the guard in a particular way. It is not uncommon for the guard to be then sent back to 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. Our goal is to help eliminate symptoms like headaches or jaw pain you may be having.
St. Lawrence Dentistry has had tremendous success in helping patients with jaw pain through the use of nightguards. If you would like to discuss how you may benefit from this treatment, please call us.