Bruxism & Nightguards Seattle, WA
Bruxism, a term for teeth grinding or clenching, is a condition that can cause serious damage to your teeth. This is a habit that predominantly occurs while sleeping. When you grind or clench your teeth, the protective outer layer (enamel) starts to wear down and eventually can be completely worn away, exposing the underlying vulnerable part of the tooth. Unfortunately, once enamel is lost you can never get it back. Worn teeth often develop sensitivity and get more cavities because their protective enamel layer has been compromised. Bruxism can also lead to tooth chipping, fractures, and flattening or shortening of your teeth. It has been shown to even cause damage below the gum line, such as gum recession and root fractures, which require special and sometimes heroic procedures to correct.
How can I protect my teeth from grinding?
At Crown Hill Smiles, we have found that a custom nightguard (essentially a mouthguard that you wear while sleeping) provides optimal protection for the teeth. A nightguard is a plastic dental appliance that fits over your teeth. Ours are custom-made from molds taken of your teeth which ensures a comfortable and intimate fit. Nightguards prevent tooth-on-tooth contact, thereby reducing the damaging effects of grinding.
Can I just buy an over-the-counter nightguard?
Nightguards are available over the counter, but they are not custom fitted. Because of their one-size-fits-all sizing, they are large and bulky. A custom nightguard is made of more durable materials and provides a better, more comfortable fit. Consequently, compliance in wearing them is higher which translates into better, more consistent protection against your grinding habit. Our dentists at Crown Hill Smiles will take into account your specific situation. An over-the-counter guard is better than nothing at all.
For more information on bruxism or nightguards, contact our Seattle office at: 206-204-9623.