Teeth grinding and clenching, which is also called bruxis, is a common problem. Many of those who clench and grind their teeth don’t even know they’re doing it, especially since much of the grinding occurs while they are sleeping. They often don’t discover there is a problem until they visit the dental office and are shown the wear on their teeth. If you clench and grind your teeth during the night, a nightguard might help reduce the side effects of this unconscious habit.
Why Do I Grind My Teeth?
The causes of bruxis can vary. Sometimes it’s a side effect of stress. In other cases, it can be a side effect of malocclusion or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Ironically, it can also be a cause of TMD. Whatever the cause, grinding can lead to a number of problems, including:
- Premature wear
- Cracks, chips, or breaks in the teeth
- Increased malocclusion
- Aching in the jaw
Severe grinding can wear the teeth down so severely that it leads to eventual tooth loss.
If your dentist notices signs of grinding, he can recommend treatment. This might involve orthodontic treatment such as braces, placement of veneers or inlays/onlays to correct the bite, or a nightguard to protect your teeth while you sleep.
How a Nightguard Helps
A nightguard is similar to a mouthguard such as those used in sports, but is usually more rigid. Your dentist can make a custom-made guard from an impression of your teeth, ensuring that it will fit comfortably in your mouth. If you grind your teeth at night, it’s recommended that you wear the nightguard every night. A custom-made guard shouldn’t interfere with your comfort or your breathing, though it might take a day or two to get used to.
Though a nightguard won’t necessarily stop you from grinding your teeth, it will greatly reduce or even eliminate the damage done by your bruxis. When you clench or grind, your teeth will encounter plastic instead of the hard enamel, and chips, breaks, or cracks will be prevented.
If you think you may suffer from any of the above mentioned factors, call the office of Dr. Daniel Bush to schedule an appointment with our caring team.