Teeth Grinding or Bruxism is a very common problem. Recent studies show that about 1/3 of the population have either had or currently have issues with grinding their teeth. If you wake up with a headaches, jaw pain and soreness below your ears you might be part of this demographic. Another way to find out is if your dentist has noted fracture lines, chipped teeth or unusual wear patterns on your teeth.
There are two common underlying factors that make a person grind their teeth, misaligned teeth and stress. For young kids with baby teeth it is common to see that they grind their teeth when teeth are erupting or coming out. This is due to the chewing muscles getting used to the new bite and the growth associated with that. It is the same for adults, more often than not, when your teeth are misaligned your muscles have to compensate and look for a stable and comfortable position for them to function. Straigtening your teeth with ortodontics or braces could be the answer to prevent irreparable damage to your teeth later on.
If on the other side the underlying factor is stress, you need to find ways to de-stress to stop the grinding which is one of the physical manifestations of that emotional state. In other situations it could be a combination of these two factors. let your dentist know during your next regular check-up if you think you may be grinding or clenching your teeth.
A Night Guard or Bruxism Appliance is a custom appliance that people who grind their teeth wear at night while they sleep. It prevents fractures and damage to their natural teeth and some designs may also restrict movement or creates a space between the upper and lower teeth to prevent damage. Ask your dentist which guard would be best suited to your case and lifestyle.