Brushing, flossing, and regular dental appointments are important for the health of your teeth, but if you wake up in the morning with jaw pain, sore teeth, and headaches, you might have to also think about taking care of your teeth during the night. Bruxism, or nighttime teeth clenching/grinding, can be damaging to the teeth if left untreated.
Because the condition causes you to put pressure on your jaw throughout the night, your muscles and joints will eventually become sore. This can eventually lead to jaw misalignment and cause changes in facial appearance. In addition, the pressure put on the teeth can cause them to crack, chip, or break. These are not just cosmetic issues, but a tooth that has been worn down past the enamel can be more susceptible to infection and decay. Bruxism can even lead to tooth loss.
The treatment for minor cases of bruxism is to wear a night guard, which works by preventing the teeth surfaces from grinding together. This protects the teeth from getting chips and cracks and also reduces the stress and strain put on the jaw muscles.
The most effective type of mouth guard is made at your dentist office and is custom-fitted to your mouth. They are the most expensive, but they are the most comfortable and fit the best, offering the highest level of protection.