Wearing a dental nightguard may be one of the most important things you can do for your oral health if you have a teeth grinding (bruxism) habit. Bruxism can cause a number of problems by weakening your teeth and straining your jaw. For example, when teeth are forced to grind against one another, they can lose enamel, a valuable defense against tooth decay. Thus, with less enamel, the risk of developing cavities will grow. In addition, the loss of enamel makes teeth weaker structurally, and as they continue to weaken, the risk that they will crack, chip, or break grows as well.
Lastly, the strain that bruxism places on temporomandibular joints (TMJs or jaw joints) can result in a TMJ disorder, which can mean a lot of debilitating pain in the forms of earaches, headaches, facial pain, jaw pain, a locked jaw, and migraines. Thus, you can see the benefit of visiting your Waco TX dentist, Dr. Corbet Locke, to receive a dental nightguard.
The Role of a Dental Nightguard
A dental nightguard is a device meant to protect teeth from bruxism on a nightly basis. It looks similar to a sports mouthguard, but is generally thinner and made out of a tougher material. The resulting nightguard is more comfortable for patients to wear, preventing it from disrupting their sleep. Its function is to keep teeth from sliding against one another, thus preserving enamel and preventing teeth from suffering structural damage. The dental nightguard can also begin to retrain the jaw muscles to eliminate bruxism altogether.
Bruxism Treatment in Waco TX
While a dental mouthguard may be a good option for protecting teeth, it may not eliminate bruxism or jaw clenching altogether. Thus, because bruxism is tied to stress and anxiety, your Waco TX dentist, Dr. Locke, may also recommend that you consider stress management therapy, yoga, or a variety of other techniques meant to relieve stress. In addition, Dr. Locke may suggest an oral splint that will reposition the jaw if you experience the symptoms of a TMJ disorder.
About Dr. Corbet Locke: Dr. Corbet C. Locke III, DDS is an experienced and respected dentist serving patients in the Waco TX area. Patients can contact him at 254-776-4888 to schedule an appointment or a consultation.
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