Night Guards/Mouth Guards
Chronic jaw clenching and teeth grinding is called bruxism. While it can happen any time of the day, it often occurs at night when you sleep. Sometimes, patients are not aware of any grinding or clenching habits. However, if you or the dental team notices flatly worn teeth, most likely some degree of bruxism is happening. Sometimes, there are mild to severe symptoms involved such as jaw pain, headaches, and sensitive teeth that may feel loose. Although stress and anxiety are the most common causes of bruxism, there may be other contributing factors such as a sleep disorder, an abnormal bite, as well as teeth that are missing or poorly aligned.
To alleviate the symptoms of bruxism, wearing a night guard while sleeping is frequently recommended. This appliance is designed to fit over the teeth and to keep the jaws slightly apart. Wearing a night guard prevents a number of damaging events including muscle strain, excessive pressure on the jaw joint (the TMJ), and chipped or cracked teeth resulting from the teeth grinding against each other.