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Night Guard for Bruxism

Treating bruxism is to cover the teeth with a night guard to protect them from the strong vertical forces caused by grinding, which causes teeth to crack, break, and, over decades, slowly wear the teeth away to stubs. Teeth grinding (bruxism) is a red flag for sleep apnea. Research shows that the brain stimulates the grinding response every time you stop breathing at night. The grinding motion pushes the jaw forward, reopening your airway, allowing you to breathe again.

They're usually made out of bendy rubber or plastic and can be made by your dentist to fit your mouth. You'll usually have to pay for this type of custom-made dental appliance. Mouth guards are also available to buy from your local pharmacist. However, it's unlikely to fit as well as one made by your dentist. Although mouth guards and splints may help reduce muscle activity in your jaw at night, they're only able to control the condition, not cure it.

Psychological treatments, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), can be used to treat any underlying psychological problems, such as stress and anxiety, that may be causing you to grind your teeth. If your bruxism is stress related, it's important that you try to relax and get a good night's sleep. There are a number of things you can do to help you wind down before you go to bed. These include:

  • yoga
  • deep breathing
  • massage
  • reading
  • having a bath
  • listening to music
  • Habit-reversal techniques are designed to break your teeth grinding habit. However, there's no scientific evidence to suggest that using habit-reversal techniques will cure bruxism. Being more aware of your habit will make it easier to break. To break the habit, you could train yourself to relax your jaw when you feel yourself grinding or clenching.

    It's important that you have regular dental check-ups and that any problems caused by your teeth grinding are treated as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

    For example, if your grinding leads to a cracked tooth and is left untreated, the nerve in your tooth could die and a dental abscess might develop. As a result, you may need to have root canal treatment.

    In severe cases, your tooth could actually split in two. If this happens, your dentist won't be able to save the tooth and it will need to be taken out.

    Dental problems, such as misaligned, cracked, crooked or missing teeth, can usually be treated with reconstructive dental treatments, such as false teeth, overlays and crowns.

    Preventing bruxism:

    To help prevent bruxism, you should:

  • have regular dental check-ups
  • be aware of how stress and anxiety affect you and find relaxation techniques that work for you
  • cut back on your alcohol consumption as it can make sleep bruxism worse
  • give up smoking (if you smoke)
  • avoid using recreational drugs, such as ecstasy and cocaine
  • avoid chewing pens, pencils and other non-food items
  • be aware of when you grind your teeth (if you do it while awake) and try to break the habit by relaxing your jaw muscles

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