Bruxism is the clenching together of both the upper and lower teeth. Clenching your teeth together can put pressure on the muscles, tissue, and other surrounding structures of the jaw and can cause jaw joint disorders, headaches, neck pain, jaw pain, ear pain, tense muscles, and excessive wear on the teeth. These symptoms together generally refer to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).
Bruxism can develop at any age, and children as well as adults can have the habit of grinding their teeth. Although the causes of bruxism are not certain, several factors may be involved. Stressful situations, sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, and crooked or missing teeth may be responsible.
Night guards are helpful for bruxism caused by sleep disorders, crooked or missing teeth, or stress. Custom-made by Dr. Giraldo from soft material to fit your teeth, the night guard slips over the upper and lower teeth and prevents contact between them. It helps relieve some of the pressure of grinding or clenching, which can damage delicate jaw joints.
Treatment for those with an abnormal bite may involve reducing the "high spots" on one or more teeth. For serious cases, Dr. Giraldo may suggest reshaping or reconstructing the biting surfaces with inlays or crowns.
Anyone who participates in sports, whether for pleasure, in youth or adult leagues, or even on a professional level—knows that losing isn't the worst thing that can happen to a player; sustaining a serious injury is, particularly when that injury is preventable.
That is why it is so important for adults and children who are active in sports to wear protective gear such as helmets, shin guards, knee and elbow pads, and mouth guards. Wearing a mouth guard can prevent serious injury and save a lot of pain. Each year this simple safety measure prevents more than 200,000 oral injuries among athletes.