Bruxism is the medical term for grinding your teeth or clenching your jaws. These are common habits that can affect people of all ages. Bruxism can cause damage to the
tooth surfaces, wearing away enamel and making the teeth more sensitive to hot, cold or biting. These heavy forces on the teeth and jaws can lead to more serious issues including cracked teeth, tooth loss, headaches, jaw pain and neck pain, especially when grinding is accompanied by clenching. Grinding can occur for many reasons including the way the teeth come together, an imbalanced bite or stress.
One of the most common treatments for bruxism is wearing a night guard while you sleep. These guards are designed to cushion your teeth, protecting tooth surfaces and relieve the teeth from the forces created by your jaw muscles.
Night guards are custom made to fit your mouth comfortably. Like any tooth appliance, they may take a few days to get used to. Lifestyle changes like learning to manage stress, and being mindful of clenching or grinding during the day may also help to prevent damage from bruxism. The key is to have your grinding problem addressed as early as possible to prevent long-term damage to your teeth and joints.