If chronic jaw and face pain have become part of your everyday life there is a strong likelihood that you are grinding your teeth, probably in your sleep and very likely you don’t even realize it. This behavior is known in medical terms as bruxism, and is defined as the habit of unconsciously grinding the teeth or clenching the jaw especially in situations of stress or during sleep. Bruxism is a common yet relatively unknown condition that affects nearly 70 million adults in the US alone.
The connection between teeth grinding and jaw pain
You might not make the connection between your jaw pain and teeth grinding. The jaw is capable of exerting more than 250 pounds of force when grinding teeth (powerful enough to crack a walnut). This level of force can not only cause tooth damage, it can cause significant distress on your temporomandibular joints which are the flexible joints found on each side of your head in front of your ear. Responsible for all your jaw movements, including eating and talking, they are the most active joints in the body and endure a lot of wear and tear. They connect your lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull. Excessive clenching (bruxing) puts pressure on the TM joints and as a result can potentially cause inflammation and soreness.
Though painful jaw muscles are a common symptom, other symptoms may also include:
- A clicking or popping sound when chewing, talking or opening and closing the mouth.
- Stiffness of the jaw, and difficulty opening the mouth wide.
- Headaches, as well as neck tension or pain.
- Tinnitus (better known as ringing in the ears), and vertigo or dizziness.
Since stress is believed to be a primary trigger of bruxism, you may only experience symptoms temporarily; once the stressful event has passed so will the symptoms. However, if left untreated, in addition to the pain and discomfort, bruxism can lead to serious dental issues like worn tooth enamel exposing the dentin, lost contours where teeth have a flattened appearance, micro-cracks which can lead to tooth fractures, or worse yet, tooth loss.
What can I do about my teeth grinding?
While there is currently no medication available to relieve Bruxism, the use of a dental grind guard is considered by dental experts to be the single most effective way to help prevent future damage, and provide relief from jaw pain and other symptoms. A dental guard prevents the upper and lower teeth from coming into contact with each other, providing a barrier from tooth-on-tooth contact and helps lessen the negative effects of clenching. These types of products are removable and generally worn only when needed (i.e., at night or while sleeping).
Choosing a Dental Grind Guard
There are many dental grind guards on the market, however custom-fit products by dentists are expensive and may require multiple visits. Many off-the-shelf grind guards may not fit properly, can be easily chewed through, or their material composition may be simply uncomfortable to wear.
The Ora-GUARD® is a product that has quickly established itself as different from the rest with an innovative design that combines a soft, medical grade fit material to cushion the jaws during clenching, coupled with a patented bite plate wedge design specially constructed to slide the lower jaw down and forward, releasing tension on the TMJ muscle, while preventing tooth damage.
FDA cleared, Ora-GUARD® fits securely in the mouth and is comfortable to wear, allowing for natural breathing while sleeping. An easy at-home fit is achieved with a simple 60 second microwave or a boil and bite fitting process, providing a custom-like fit. Ora-GUARD® dental grind guard provides an immediate, over-the-counter bruxism solution that protects the teeth and minimizes jaw pain, and is backed by a 6 month satisfaction guarantee. If you’ve been suffering from jaw pain caused by teeth grinding, find the relief you have been looking for with Ora-GUARD®.