Disrupted sleep, nausea, and bruxism are just a few of the physical symptoms you might feel when you get anxious. Bruxism occurs when you involuntarily grind or clench your teeth, which can affect your dental health. Thankfully, it is easy to prevent damage related to bruxism using an occlusal plate.
What Is Bruxism?
People have a habit of clenching their jaw when they feel stress, anxiety, hyperactivity, or even competitiveness. This involuntary movement has no real long-term consequences as long as it only occurs in rare or isolated instances. However, it does pose a chronic issue for some people.
The tendency to grind your teeth can result in tooth sensitivity, muscle pain that can extend from the jaw to your shoulders, and headaches. It may even cause you to feel fatigued after a full night’s sleep. People suffering from bruxism typically experience premature enamel degradation, sometimes to the point where they may lose small pieces of their teeth or create a dental fracture. Bruxism can also damage fillings, dentures, and crowns.
Bruxism While Sleeping & Occlusal Plates
Bruxism usually occurs while we sleep, and in severe cases, it can cause just as much noise as snoring. While people who grind their teeth during the day can stop the behaviour as soon as they notice it, sleepers have no natural way of correcting this bad habit. And just like the muscles we use for chewing tend to tighten up over the years, bruxism unfortunately tends to get worse with time.
Made of soft acrylic, an occlusal plate (also known as a bite plate) is custom-designed to perfectly fit your upper teeth and prevent them from touching your lower teeth. It helps the wearer relax the muscles and joints in their jaw and reduce the progression of tooth decay while they sleep.
A Multidisciplinary Approach
While an occlusal plate can cure the symptoms of tooth grinding, it can’t treat the root cause. So, it’s best to couple this treatment with a solution that addresses the source of the issue. Since stress is often the culprit behind bruxism, dentists recommend adopting relaxation techniques like meditation and following a soothing bedtime routine.
The dentist may also recommend that the patient do masticatory muscle stretching exercises or take muscle relaxants. Orthodontic treatment may be necessary if the problem is being caused by malocclusion, which occurs when the teeth are improperly aligned.
Your teeth are precious, but it’s impossible to consciously protect them while you’re sleeping.