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Dentist Discusses the Effects of Clenching and Grinding and What You Can Do

In addition to the stress of modern life, there are many factors that contribute to nighttime clenching and grinding (also called bruxism). Whether it’s caused by too much caffeine, bite alignment issues, sleep apnea, or alcohol consumption, this behavior affects your oral health and quality of life in multiple ways. It’s also quite common, affecting nearly 1 in 10 people. If you suspect that you clench or grind your teeth at night, you may not be able to stop the behavior. But you can protect your teeth and jaws from potential damage! Keep reading to learn more about the dangers of clenching and grinding and how a dentist in Bullard can help you avoid them.

What Are the Symptoms and Consequences of Bruxism?

You may notice any of the following symptoms of bruxism:

  • Cracks, fractures, chips, or a flattening of the chewing surfaces of your back teeth
  • Jaw pain
  • Worn tooth enamel along with sensitivity to temperature or chewing
  • Headaches or earaches
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Clicking or popping of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
  • A scalloped appearance on the sides of your tongue
  • Ringing in the ears

How Can You Protect Your Teeth?

As with all things, avoiding the problems mentioned above is easier than treating them. And prevention is easier than you may think. Start by seeing a dentist to be evaluated. If appropriate, they may recommend a nightguard. Although it won’t stop bruxism altogether, it will absorb the force exerted on your teeth, protect your jaws, and prevent chips and fractures. However, keep in mind that not all nightguards are created equal.

The Importance of Using a Custom-Made Nightguard

Here’s why custom-made nightguards are superior to store-bought appliances:

  • They give you a perfect fit – When an appliance doesn’t fit, it won’t feel or function as well. And when it comes to nightguards, there’s no such thing as “one size fits all.” A dentist takes precise impressions of your teeth so your nightguard fits your mouth perfectly.
  • They last longer – Better quality materials are used in custom nightguards that are thicker, more durable, and more comfortable.
  • They protect your TMJ – An over-the-counter appliance can make existing TMJ problems worse. A custom nightguard is designed to correct specific bite alignment issues that put pressure on your jaw joint.

Although bruxism can lead to serious oral health problems, a custom-made nightguard will help you maintain a healthy smile for years to come.

About the Author

Dr. Tad Morgan is a family dentist in Bullard and a graduate of Baylor College of Dentistry. With over 20 years of experience, he’s seen the damage that clenching and grinding can do and offers custom-made nightguards to maintain his patients’ oral health. If you clench and grind or have any questions, he can be reached via his website.