Many people clench and grind their teeth, but are completely unaware they do it. Why? Most clench and grind while they sleep. Clenching and grinding of teeth, or bruxism, is considered a major cause of tooth problems. Bruxism can cause a multitude of dental problems: temperature sensitivity, pain due to the wear getting down to the nerve, tooth fractures, receding gumline, and even lost teeth. Patients will need crowns, bridges, veneers, implants, extractions, and root canals to treat the damage caused by bruxism.
Grinding can also cause problems to arise in the temporomandibular joint, TMJ. TMJ symptoms include clicking or popping when opening and closing the mouth, aching pain in the face, earaches, headaches, jaw pain, and locking of the jaw. Wearing a night guard will prevent bruxism, therefore relaxing the muscles of your TMJ and alleviating problems.
Perhaps the most noticeable symptom of bruxism is tooth attrition. Attrition is the tooth wear due to the mechanical forces of grinding your teeth. Sometimes attrition is so severe that more than half of a person’s tooth length has been worn down. Restorations, such as crowns and veneers, are needed to treat attrition due to bruxism. And of course, a night guard to wear to prevent any further attrition!
A dental night guard is a custom appliance that covers your top row of teeth to prevent tooth-to-tooth contact. Your teeth will continue to move in the same grinding pattern, but your night guard will protect your teeth! Night guards should be worn when sleeping, when you are grinding. Your night guard will protect your new restorations, prevent tooth attrition, and alleviate TMJ pain.