Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is directly related to stress and can cause a myriad of dental problems. If you suffer from bruxism, you may have experienced earaches, headaches, neck aches, facial muscle soreness, jaw clicking or popping, or sensitive teeth. In severe cases, you may also notice your teeth begin to look shorter, broken, cracked or chipped.
While grinding can take place during the day or at night, nighttime grinding cannot be controlled when sleeping. If you suffer from any of these symptoms, or if your dentist notices evidence of bruxism through excessive wear, he or she may recommend a night guard to protect your teeth from this behavior. Worn at night, the occlusal guard not only protects your teeth from wear, but also interrupts and reprograms the reward pathways that may be responsible for your bruxism.
It’s important to recognize that once teeth have deteriorated from bruxism, it is impossible to undo the damage. Early identification of the problem is crucial. Remember, be proactive and not reactive!