Night time bruxism, or grinding and clenching, can cause serious wear on your teeth and tempromandibular joint (jaw joint). Most people who grind and clench at night don’t even realize it. Bruxism is not an uncommon nighttime phenomena. It may be mild and sporadic or seemingly unending and frequent. And sure, during times of intense duress, some of you may even find yourself grinding away during waking hours. The big difference is that during waking hours, it’s easy to correct behavior as you notice it.
Common symptoms of bruxism include pain in the facial region and teeth upon waking, as well as tooth sensitivity and soreness upon drinking cold liquids and chewing. Clinical characteristics of bruxism include worn down chewing surfaces on back teeth and shortened anterior teeth, gum recession especially around the canines and premolar teeth, facture lines and cracks on enamel surfaces, and tooth erosion of dentine (the soft supporting structure underneath tooth’s enamel).
Remember, your teeth deserve a rest, and so do you. Whether you’re going through a phase or not, the damage that you may be doing can mean expensive repair work down the road. That’s why it’s always advised to find out whether you need a dental night guard earlier rather than later. Based on the amount of damage you may have already done and the symptoms you describe, your dentist can determine whether a night mouth guard is right for you.
Once your dentist determines that you’re a good candidate for a night guard, he or she will create one that’s custom-made for your mouth. A professionally made night guard for teeth is composed of soft material and slides over one row of your teeth. Once your dental night guard is in place, you can sleep soundly knowing that even if you do grind your teeth once you’re asleep, your upper and lower teeth will no longer make contact. Also, some night guards are made with a sliding ramp (based on the need of the patient) which allows the jaw to slide forward when you clench your teeth at night. This allows for relief of stress on your jaw joint and decreases the wear of the joint.