Do you frequently wake up with clenched jaws, jaw muscle soreness, or headaches?

If you experience these unpleasant symptoms, you may be grinding your teeth at night. But don’t worry! Night grinding is a more common problem than you might think. A custom, dentist-made bite guard is an easy fix. It will help you recover from those frustrating aches and pains and prevent any further damage to your teeth and jaw.

Bite Guard Winston Salem Dentist Office

About Night Grinding

Grinding can damage your teeth and jaw joints over time. It can even fracture your teeth, which requires crowns or extraction as treatment.
These severe side effects usually occur if your night grinding remains undiagnosed or if you don’t seek treatment following a diagnosis. That’s why you shouldn’t ignore your dentist’s treatment suggestions!

The easiest type of night grinding to diagnose is side-to-side-grinding. This type of grinding visibly wears down the surface of your teeth.

But did you know there is also a type of grinding with little to no visible wear on your teeth? 

If you clench your teeth in your sleep, you’re exerting tons of vertical pressure on your teeth and jaw joints. Clench grinding involves minimal side to side movement. Because your teeth are not visibly worn down, it’s much more difficult for your dentist to diagnose clench grinding.

How can I tell if I’m grinding my teeth at night?

  1. Pay attention to the position of your jaws. If your jaws feel tense when you wake up during the night or in the morning, you should consult your dentist.
  2. Check and see if the biting surface of your teeth is worn down. That’s a sure sign of current or past side-to-side grinding in the lower jaw.
  3. Another telltale sign of grinding is the the presence of V notches at the neck or gum line of your teeth. These notches can become quite deep over time and affect your tooth’s integrity.  Dentists call these V notches “abfractions.”
  4. Are many of your teeth sensitive to cold liquids? Many, but not all, patients who grind their teeth have an issue with cold sensitivity. Sensitivity is the only way your teeth can alert you something is wrong, which is why you should never ignore it.
  5. Place your fore finger against your top teeth on one side and clench then grind or grit your teeth. Do you feel your teeth moving? If you do, that means grinding is loosening your teeth in their sockets. Luckily, unless you have severe bone loss from gum disease, you can reverse this process.

I have these symptoms, but I don’t think I’m a night grinder.

Many patients deny they grind at night, even after they are diagnosed. Here are some of the common objections we get from patients whom we diagnose with night grinding.

“I know I don’t grind because I snore with my mouth open all night.”

Just because you snore for most of the night doesn’t mean you aren’t grinding at another point. Even if you are only grinding your teeth 5 minutes per night, it causes far too much stress for the teeth and jaw to endure for very long.

“My spouse says he/she never hears me grinding my teeth.”

Did you know that grinding your teeth doesn’t actually make a noise?

If you clench down fairly hard and grit your teeth while keeping them together, you won’t hear anything. Don’t actually do this – take our word for it!

This common misconception comes from children who grind their teeth. An 8-year-old’s permanent and baby teeth coming together at all different angles will often make a noise when he grinds them together. However, adult grinding is usually silent.

I think I might be grinding my teeth at night, what should I do?

A custom, dentist-made bite guard is the answer to teeth grinding. These guards, also called night guards or occlusal guards, have a streamlined fit. They are much more comfortable and durable than any impostor bite guards bought at a pharmacy.

We only suggest a store bought guard to patients who are in extreme pain and need something immediately while the lab makes a custom guard from their dental impressions.

Dr. T says, “A store-bought night guard fits everyone, but fits no one well.”

With a custom-fitted guard you will have a comfortable and protective barrier between your teeth every night to prevent friction from causing damage. Call our Winston Salem dental office at 336-765-3357 to get your own today

Your comfort comes first here at Distinctively Dental, let us show you how.