Clenching or grinding your teeth at night can lead to a whole host of issues and problems for your health. People who clench at night can suffer from headaches, sore jaw or neck, and worn down or cracked teeth that are expensive and difficult to fix. The tricky thing is that people are often unaware that they are clenching their teeth (since they do it while they sleep) until a major problem arises.
What can be done?
First, see your dentist regularly. They will notice if you have unusual wear on your teeth. If that is the case, they may recommend a mouth guard at night. Using a dental night guard is a practical and easy solution to solve the issues that come with clenching your teeth.
Wondering if a mouth guard for sleeping is right for you? Here are some things to consider.
Things to Consider
Bruxism is the medical term for the grinding and forceful clenching of teeth. Why a person suffers from bruxism varies — it can be caused by stress or anxiety, and is more likely to happen in those with malocclusion or misaligned jaws. Since it is hard to pinpoint the cause, it is also hard to “cure”. People try hypnosis, acupuncture, massage therapy, and other modalities to varying degrees of success.
While you seek a cure, the best thing you can do for clenching and grinding is to wear a dental night guard. This will prevent the damage like cracked, worn down teeth until the clenching stops.
How Do You Get A Mouth Guard?
There are over the counter mouth guards for sleeping (or playing sports or other activites) but they are not as effective as having one fitted to your teeth by a professional.
Your dentist can help you by first examining your mouth and teeth. They will be able to tell which of your teeth are being affected by bruxism. It may be isolated to one side of your mouth or just the back teeth, for example, so you don’t need a full mouth guard like you see in the movies.
Your dental office will take impressions of your teeth which are then sent to a lab to create an apparatus that custom fits your teeth to address your specific needs.
The other very important step after acquiring a dental night guard is to actually use it. We’ve all been there, where we start strong with something (like a diet or new hobby) and then the resolve fades. A month later your mouth guard is gathering dust while you sleep.
It’s very important to use your dental guard every night. And if you have some shame or embarrassment over it, remember that it is a preventative measure for bigger problems. In fact, you deserve a high five for doing something about the problem now rather than waiting until your teeth start to crack and wear down.
The truth is that while it might seem like a dental night guard is a big investment in time and money up front, it pays off in spades. Dental treatments like crowns, implants, extractions, and root canals are way more expensive and painful to deal with. If you have clenching teeth at night, we recommend you to visit the professional dental clinic.