You’ve worked diligently to take care of your teeth and maintain that winning smile. But sometimes you need a little extra protection, whether by choice or not. Many people develop a teeth clenching or grinding condition which requires a mouthguard for treatment. Dr. Skalnik at Dental Care South in Tuscaloosa will assess your individual needs and then custom-fit and design the right type of guard to accomplish your needs. These custom-made guards provide the most comfortable fit and best protection.
Your Tuscaloosa dentist at Dental Care South is experienced in the disorders that may require a mouthguard as a best treatment option. Custom-fitted mouthguards are the most common treatment option for bruxism, TMJ and even sleep apnea.
Bruxism is a disorder in which you grind your teeth, usually at night while you sleep. Teeth grinding causes may include anything from high stress to abnormal bite to crooked teeth. The mouthguard does not really stop the habit of teeth clenching and grinding, but it helps you prevent possible damage to your teeth by acting as a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth. It can absorb all the grinding and clenching forces.
TMJ, while having similar symptoms as Bruxism, is a different disorder in which you may have pain in your neck and jaw area, a clicking or popping noise when you open or close your mouth, or a limited range of motion in your jaw. Disorders of the TMJ (temporomandibular joint) are thought to affect as many as 10 million people in the U.S. The first phase of TMJ treatment often requires a mouthguard. These types of mouthguards are also called splints and are always made of rigid acrylic material. They help to raise the bite and reposition the jaw in a position that helps relieve you of any pain. Your Tuscaloosa dentist will carefully and precisely fit you for a TMJ splint and may need to make multiple adjustments in order to achieve the perfect position.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, you stop breathing while you’re sleeping. Your breathing generally resumes on its own after a few seconds or a few minutes. A mouthguard may be effective with mild cases of sleep apnea and it’s often helpful for correcting loud snoring. The mouthpiece adjusts the position of your tongue and the lower portion of your jaw in order to keep airways open during the time when you’re sleeping. This means you’ll have more continuous airflow entering your mouth. One type of oral appliance that treats sleep apnea is a mandibular advancement device. It looks similar to a sportsguard, and it connects to the upper and lower dental arches. This device will also prevent you from grinding your teeth.