Bruxism, better known as teeth grinding

Clenching and grinding can occur at any time, but sleep-related bruxism is more common. And because it happens while you’re unconscious, this type of bruxism is difficult to control. The condition can come and go throughout life and can be caused (or made worse) by stress, anxiety, diet, caffeine or certain medications. However, many people experience bruxism even without these risk factors.

Severe bruxism can lead to headaches, ear and jaw pain, cracked teeth, and even temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. But even mild clenching and grinding can, over time, wear down the surface of teeth, making them unattractive and more vulnerable to decay and damage (see photos).

Though changes in lifestyle and certain anti-anxiety medications can curb symptoms, there is no cure for bruxism. Fortunately, we have a treatment that can prevent the pain and damage that bruxism can cause. We can create a custom nightguard; this is a simple-to-use appliance that fits over the biting surfaces (usually the upper teeth) and protects them from damage.

Though over-the-counter nightguards are available, they do not fit well, can be uncomfortable and may not provide very effective protection against bruxism. A custom nightguard is typically a one-time investment and can pay off enormously in preventing future pain and expense.

If you think you or someone else you know may have symptoms of bruxism, be sure to ask about a nightguard at your next dental appointment.

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