If you think of a mouth guard, your mind probably conjures up images of a massive football player stepping onto a field of green turf or a hockey player chasing a puck. These sports require mouth guards to protect teeth and the mouth from the consequences of violent collisions. However, oral appliances are also used in dentistry. Here to explain the uses of dental mouthpieces is your Des Moines dentist, Dr. Jessica Johnson.
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a sneaky and sometimes devastating habit. The trouble with bruxism is that patients are often unaware that they are grinding their teeth because it happens most often during the night when they are asleep. Sometimes the first warning signs of bruxism are a sore jaw and sensitive teeth. Unfortunately, these symptoms are sometimes ignored, and serious complications can arise.
Over a long period of time, bruxism can wear down teeth until they suffer structural damage. Teeth may chip, crack, or even break, necessitating restorative dental work. However, teeth are not the only things at risk from bruxism. The joint that presides over the opening and closing of the mouth, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), experiences significant strain from bruxism. This strain can cause a TMJ disorder, which can result in frequent headaches, migraines, earaches, a locked jaw, and facial pain.
To treat bruxism, your Des Moines dentist, Dr. Johnson, may prescribe a dental mouthpiece. The mouthpiece will protect your teeth and push your lower jaw forward during the night, limiting bruxism and jaw clenching.
Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Dental mouthpieces are also used to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which occurs when the soft tissues of the throat relax during sleep and block the flow of air. With the airflow inhibited, the brain wakes the body. This process happens hundreds of times throughout the night, resulting in poor rest for the sleeper. However, a dental mouthpiece will push the lower jaw forward to ensure an open airway throughout the night, allowing OSA patients to achieve proper rest.
Visit your Des Moines Dentist
Do you have a sore jaw and sensitive teeth? Schedule an appointment with your Des Moines dentist, Dr. Johnson, today by calling 515-223-9764. Our 50266 dentist office welcomes patients from West Des Moines, Waukee, Clive, and nearby Des Moines metro communities.