Most people grind their teeth and it usual occurs while sleeping. We sometimes don’t know we grind our teeth unless someone tells us they heard it. Teeth grinding does take a toll on the teeth and also on the jaw joint. The teeth can crack slowly causing chipping and pain. Soreness of the jaw joint and muscles can occur.

When I suspect that a patient is grinding his/her teeth I will recommend wearing a nightguard to help alleviate muscle and joint soreness and also prevent any future cracking of the teeth. A nightguard can prevent future damage to teeth. For the cost of a nightguard it’s worth it to have one because restoring damaged teeth due to grinding can be quite expensive.

Nightguards are plastic appliances that cover the biting surfaces of either the top teeth or bottom teeth. The best nightguards are made to fit only the patient’s mouth. Generic nightguards sold in stores are ok but they tend to make the patient chew on the nightguard because most of the generic brands are made of softer plastic. Chewing can cause more pain to the jaw joint. Making a nightguard requires taking molds of the mouth and then a lab will fabricate the nightguard usually within two weeks of taking impressions. On delivery of the nightguard the dentist will adjust the fit and bite of the nightguard to ensure that the patient can wear it comfortably.

The main purpose of a nightguard is to relieve biting pressure on the teeth, relax the biting muscles especially at night during sleep and relieve pressure on the jaw joint. Economically it makes sense to wear a nightguard because it saves the teeth from wear and cracking and it saves the jaw from invasive procedures to relieve jaw pain. A nightguard will not prevent a patient from grinding but it will relieve his/her symptoms. If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth please talk to your dentist about treatment plans.