Take a look at an old photo of yourself smiling from your teenage years and compare it to your smile today. Notice any changes?
Have you ever awoken from a night of sleeping with a sore jaw or sensitive teeth? How about a headache? Do you catch yourself clenching your teeth under stressful situations?
These are symptoms that largely go unrecognized, but all of these could be pointing to a common underlying theme: bruxism. Bruxism is the technical term for teeth grinding. While many people think teeth grinding is normal, they don’t realize that it flattens the teeth and actually removes large amounts of the protecting layer of enamel you rely on to smile.
As we age, years of “bruxing” begins to take its toll. Teeth appear shorter, squared, sharper and begin to show cracks. These different factors combine to “age” our smiles.
What preventative measures can be taken?
A comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan from your dentist is the best course of action. He or she will likely talk to you about how your teeth come together. A specific and specially made night guard is often recommended to stop the progression of tooth aging. In some cases, alternative cosmetic procedures may be available to help craft and revive a more youthful look.
What are the differences between generic store bought night guards and dentist-crafted custom night guards?
Soft store bought night guards can serve a purpose, however they are not designed to help your jaw and muscles relax like a specific dentist designed night guard does. Night guards designed in our office also typically last years longer than most soft over the counter store styles.
Many of our patients report that our custom nightguards help them sleep better and allow them to feel more rested throughout their day.
How are night guards different than sports guards?
Sports guards are made to protect teeth and surrounding tissue from impact. Dental office night guards are designed to not only protect the teeth, but also to relax and correctly position the jaw and surrounding facial muscles.
***Aside from the look of an aged smile, teeth grinding puts an enormous amount of pressure on your teeth. Your teeth can become very sensitive to temperature. Crowns, fillings, and even natural tooth structure can fracture or break off. If you are concerned that you may have bruxism symptoms, please be sure to bring this up to your dentist at your next 6 month cleaning