Has your partner mentioned that they hear your teeth grinding at night? Do you wake up with a sore or stiff jaw or a headache? If so, you might have bruxism, the medical term for grinding or clenching your teeth. If inflammation is involved, it may be called TMJ or Temporomandibular Joint syndrome. Unfortunately, if left unmanaged, teeth grinding can damage your teeth, causing cracks, tooth sensitivity, and even breakage.
Some people grind their teeth every night, while others only experience bruxism when they are experiencing a lot of stress. Young children may grind their teeth, but they grow out of it. Certain medications can also cause teeth grinding. When teeth grinding is causing problems, a nightguard is the best solution for preventing additional damage to your teeth. A nightguard is a bite guard created for you to wear overnight. These dental guards manage lateral grinding as well as clenching of the jaw. They help prevent wear on your enamel and the extreme force from clenching your jaw in your sleep.
Symptoms of Grinding Teeth at Night
Teeth grinding can result in various symptoms ranging from mild and temporary to more severe. When these symptoms occur regularly, it may be time to get a nightguard since little can be done to control night grinding and clenching.
- Jaw aches
- Tooth impressions on your tongue when you wake up
- Morning headache
- Popping jaw
- Cracked or crazed tooth enamel
- Difficulty opening the mouth wide
What are the Nightguard Options?
You may be familiar with sports mouthguards, but it is important to be aware that sports guards are different from nightguards. Sports mouthguards are designed to absorb the impact of the teeth clanking together while you play a contact sport, such as football or basketball. They are usually not custom fit, and because they are intended to absorb impact, they can be somewhat clunky and uncomfortable. A sports guard should not be used as a substitute for a nightguard.
Because they are worn overnight, dental nightguards must be more comfortable and well-fitted. They should also be extremely durable to protect your teeth night after night. That is why we recommend nightguards that are custom fitted to your mouth. For custom-made night guards, an impression of your teeth will be sent to a lab. The dental lab will make a nightguard to perfectly fit your teeth and mouth to alleviate the effects of grinding and clenching your teeth.
If you think you grind your teeth at night, talk to your dentist at Uptown Dental. We can help determine if you need a nightguard and present you with options for protecting your smile.