If you clench or grind your teeth at night – or during the day – you are not alone! You may do this and not be aware that you have this habit. It does not always make noise. You do not always have symptoms that you, yourself would notice. Your dentist or dental hygienist should notice though. You may need a nightguard if you have the signs or symptoms of occlusal disease or soreness in the jaw muscles. See more below for reasons why it is so very important to understand and treat occlusal disease. If treated early, the difficulty and cost of treatment is nominal.
Kinds of Nightguards
There are several different kinds of nightguards that we may recommend for you. Some are shown here. They may be made on either your upper or your lower teeth and they are very comfortable to wear once your mouth has gotten used to them. They can be thick or thin (depending on the goal) and they will generally cover all the teeth in one arch or just the front teeth
How Do I Know if I Have Occlusal Disease?
The signs and symptoms of occlusal disease or abnormal wear of the teeth should not be ignored. The damage to tooth structure may be painless, but it will continue and probably increase over time. The following list of information related to occlusal disease is excerpted from courses with Dr. Peter Dawson. Dr. Dawson has taught over 30,000 dentist and technicians the principles of occlusion and TMJ therapy. The characteristics of occlusal disease are the following:
- It is the #1 dental problem causing destruction
- It is the #1 contributor to the loss of teeth
- It is the #1 reason extensive dental treatment is needed
- It is the #1 reason that people have pain in their jaw muscles and TMJ
- It is the #1 cause of structural damage to the teeth
- It is the #1 reason for tooth pain
If you are clenching or grinding your teeth, you may also have one or more of the following:
- Excessive (compared to what is normal for the chewing of food) wear of the teeth
- Pain or tenderness in the chewing muscles
- Stress – it should be noted here that clenching or grinding will not improve stress!
Please share your concerns with our office and we will let you know if a nightguard would be beneficial for you!