There is nothing as important to us as your continued oral health and hygiene. When your teeth last you a lifetime you save money and the beauty of your natural smile. Further, your overall health is so closely tied to your oral health that often minor changes in one can vastly affect the other. Mouth guards are an unlikely, but important tool that we use to ensure not only your continued oral health, but your overall health.
There are a few varied reasons why we typically end up prescribing and creating mouth guards for our patients. The obvious reason is bruxism (AKA tooth grinding), which is usually an issue that arises at night when you are sleeping. The other reason we prescribe mouth guards is to combat sleep apnea in patients who have a hard time with waking frequently and breathing at night.
It is a common occurrence that when we tell a patient that they show signs of bruxism they are confused. “But I don’t grind my teeth,” is a common response. People think that tooth grinding is a habit that is usually done during the day, like biting your nails. While plenty of people do make a habit out of grinding their teeth, the vast majority of those who do, do so without even knowing it - during their sleep.
Bruxism will often leave you with a sore jaw (temporomandibular joint TMJ). Sometimes tooth sensitivity is an issue for those suffering from bruxism. Sometimes there are no noticeable side effects. It can lead to tooth degradation in the form of chipping and cracking, headaches, tooth pain, and even tooth failure.
A mouth guard from our office will last a long time, much longer than mouth guards that can be bought over-the-counter. They are specially designed to fit your mouth perfectly and will do a much better job at fighting the effects of bruxism.
Sleep apnea is a condition where, due to a number of factors, a person will stop breathing for a short period of time while they sleep. Often after 15 to 20 seconds of going without air, a person will be brought out of their sleep cycle to gasp for air. This can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule because your body is never allowed to enter those stages of deep sleep where you get the rest you really need.
Many times, sleep apnea is caused because of the way the head is positioned during sleep. When the head is allowed to sit back, the rear roof of the mouth will come very close to the tongue in the back of the mouth. This narrows the airway significantly. When a special mouth guard is placed in the mouth, it forces the jaw into a more open position, which prevents the airway from narrowing.
Please call us today at (503) 967-0877 to schedule an appointment. Remember, if you wake up in the morning with jaw pain or can never seem to get enough sleep to feel well-rested, come in to see us as this may be a sign of something more serious.