You only get one smile, so it's important that you take steps to protect your teeth. If you're prone to grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw, it is recommended that you use a dental night guard for protection.
Bruxism is the medical term for grinding, clenching, and gnashing teeth. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth when you're awake (awake bruxism) or clench or grind them during sleep (sleep bruxism). Occasional teeth grinding is not a problem, but when it becomes a habit, it could lead to serious dental complications
Symptoms of Bruxism
- Jaw, neck or face pain or soreness
- Pain that feels like an earache, though it's actually not a problem with your ear
- Dull headache starting in the temples
- Damage from chewing on the inside of your cheek
- Sleep disruption
- Teeth grinding or clenching, which may be loud enough to wake up your sleep partner
- Teeth that are flattened, fractured, chipped or loose
- Worn tooth enamel, exposing deeper layers of your tooth
- Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
- Tired or tight jaw muscles, or a locked jaw that won't open or close completely
Causes of Bruxism
Night Guard Benefits
People who grind their teeth at night can often benefit from wearing a dental night guard. Night guards are made out of a laminate or acrylic material that is flexible. Once in place, the night guard acts as a cushion, distributing the pressure from grinding and clenching away from the biting surface. It also reduces friction. These benefits can help to minimize the risk of the teeth becoming damaged due to grinding and may ease symptoms of bruxism. Your dentist can help you determine if a dental night guard is right for you.
Although mouth guards are commonly available at local pharmacies, it helps to use a customized one made by a dentist. At the Anderson Lake Dental, we offer custom-made night guards that fit well and function better than store bought mouth guards. Contact us for more information on treatment options for teeth grinding or if you’d like to order a customized night guard for you.