The people of New Orleans know a lot about living life to the fullest. It can be hard to do, though, with chronic headaches or pain. If you wake up with headaches, facial tension, or jaw pain, or you struggle with tooth sensitivity, you may suffer from a common condition called bruxism. 

Waking up with a headache or jaw pain can ruin your entire day. It can cause you to feel exhausted, irritable, or have trouble focusing. Oftentimes, we can draw a direct relationship between bruxism (chronic clenching and grinding of your teeth) to morning jaw pain, tooth sensitivity, inflammation, and facial tension.

If you know or suspect you are grinding your teeth while you sleep, contact Dr. Paul Perez and Dr. Elizabeth Crapanzano at Avenue Family Dentistry to talk about the use of a nightguard to relieve the symptoms and limit damage caused by bruxism.

Teeth Grinding and Clenching

Bruxism is the act of clenching or grinding your teeth, and while some people are conscious of it during the day, nocturnal bruxism is actually even more common. You might not even be aware you have a bruxing habit unless your partner tells you they hear you working your teeth together while you sleep.

At Avenue Family Dentistry, we can diagnose and treat bruxism so that you can get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

Comfortable Custom Nightguards

An effective way to reduce symptoms from teeth grinding is by wearing a nightguard while you sleep. Dr. Perez and Dr. Crapanzano design custom nightguards to provide our patients with protection and comfort.

Nightguards create a barrier between your upper and lower teeth. Unlike over-the-counter nightguards available at the pharmacy, we create our custom nightguards from durable acrylic that encourages your jaw to relax and protects your teeth from fractures.

We start by taking an impression of your teeth to ensure a proper fit. Since you will be using your nightguard during sleep, a good fit is essential! Once we create your nightguard, we will adjust the surface to your bite, allowing your jaw to seat in a comfortable position that helps it relax. Most patients report feeling an improvement after just a few days of use and adapt quickly to wearing it.

Taking Care of Your Nightguard

Be sure to clean your nightguard regularly since it will collect bacteria and tartar with use. Wash it with cool water and a cleanser designed for orthodontic retainers or dentures. If tartar builds up, you can clean the guard by soaking it in white vinegar. The vinegar will soften the tartar so that it can be easily wiped off.

Bring it with you to your regular dental appointments so that we can examine it for damage and make sure it fits properly.

Consequences of Long-Term Teeth Grinding

Long-term teeth grinding can result in a number of oral health problems:

  • Temporomandibular joint (jaw) dysfunction
  • Fractured teeth
  • Premature wear
  • Gum recession
  • Teeth sensitivity
  • Headaches
  • Neck aches
  • Shoulder pain
  • Facial pain
  • Swelling
  • Popping, clicking, or locking of the jaw
  • Poor sleep
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

Seeking treatment early can help you avoid surgery and complications. Nightguards are a small investment in your comfort and oral health. By wearing your guard diligently each night, you can awaken feeling refreshed and pain free, ready to start your day!

Do You Have Headaches or Jaw Pain? Call Us!

Contact our New Orleans dental office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Paul Perez or Elizabeth Crapanzano. We look forward to helping you protect your smile and get a great night’s sleep!