Many people have issues with teeth grinding and clenching in their sleep, this is also known as “nocturnal bruxism”. As a result, they’ll wake up with sore jaws, tooth sensitivity (usually discovered when chewing), worn down teeth, and/or tension headaches. If you present with the described symptoms, in many cases your local dentist will recommend a custom-fitted dental night guard to reduce injury to your teeth.

Grinding and clenching can be unconscious; if a loved one can attest to hearing you grind in your sleep... Fact: You are grinding down your teeth and it is critical for you to wear a night guard.

Unfortunately, the cause of grinding is multi-faceted and still unknown. Typically stress and anxiety can exacerbate your grinding. Stimulants (i.e. caffeine) or anti-depressants have been linked to an increase in clenching and grinding. Luckily, a night guard will serve as a barrier/cushion between your teeth and provide you the much needed relief of excessive forces on your teeth. It may improve quality of your sleep as well. To allow yourself to continue grinding your teeth is unwise because you only get one set of permanent teeth in your lifetime.

We strongly believe in preventative care. If you prevent a problem, you don’t need to “repair” anything. Grinding will cause your teeth to wear down and/or fracture - these can cause varying levels of discomfort; when your enamel (the protective outer layer) wears away/fractures off, microscopic canals are exposed, which can trigger your dental nerves and cause sensitivity/pain. Additionally, you may develop TMJ disorder (inflammation of the temporomandibular joint) overtime and you may find it difficult to open your mouth, eat, or speak normally. If you have a night guard, you can sleep in peace and not have to worry about damage done at night.

Most of the dental night guards sold over the counter/in stores, albeit inexpensive, don’t actually fit because they are not in line with your bite pattern; they are usually bulky, uncomfortable to sleep in and could exacerbate the jaw pain/muscle strain you are feeling. For maximum comfort, durability, and high quality materials, we have a professional dental laboratory create the night guard that is customized to your teeth. The cost of a night guard is a worthwhile long-term investment to prevent yourself from what can become irritating and costly in the long run.

Throughout the day, be conscious of your bite. Your teeth should not be touching unless you are eating. If they touch often, you have a habit of clenching and this can indicate a larger problem when you sleep. We want you to protect your smile and get the restful night of sleep you deserve. If you are concerned about teeth grinding or interested in learning more about night guards, feel free to drop by our office for an analysis of your mouth to check for any signs of bruxism. Please call 707-552-4900 or request an appointment online.

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