The Effects of Teeth Grinding

March 7, 2022

Have you been told that you grind your teeth while you sleep? Do you wake with soreness in the jaw? If so, you may consider a night guard.

What is teeth grinding, and how is it treated? Teeth grinding and clenching, also known as Bruxism, is common and can be painful and destructive to teeth. Some may not even be aware of their habit.

Some Bruxism symptoms you may suffer from are:
• Teeth grinding
• Waking up with dull headaches
• Jaw soreness
• Facial pain
• Fatigue from lack of sleep

Occasional teeth grinding may not cause any real concerns, but long-term, consistent Bruxism can lead to broken teeth, loss of tooth enamel, and in severe cases, loss of teeth.
The exact cause is unknown, but it’s believed that stress and anxiety play the most significant role. Other causes may also be alcohol use, cigarettes, caffeine, sleep apnea, snoring, an abnormal bite, and crooked teeth.
Most cases of Bruxism can easily be treated by wearing a custom hard night guard for teeth while you sleep. They work by putting a barrier between your teeth. When you clench your jaw, it helps to lighten the tension and give cushion to the muscles in the jaw, and takes the pressure off your temporomandibular joint. This cushioning not only helps to prevent face and jaw pain and headaches it also protects the enamel of your teeth.

Night guards fit over your upper teeth; they are made of hard acrylic. Alginate impressions are taken of your upper and lower teeth and a full arch bite registration and is lab fabricated. They often require adjustment for comfort, and can ‘feel tight’ when initially worn. This feeling disappears with frequent use. Provided not a lot changes with your occlusion and bite, night guards can last for many years.

At Chatham Dental Arts, the dental team looks for signs of Bruxism during your dental cleanings and dental exams. We want to educate our patients on necessary treatment so that together we can work towards optimal dental health.