photo of a night guard to prevent teeth grinding
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Do you feel pain in your jaw or head upon waking up? If you answered yes, you may be experiencing bruxism.

Bruxism is a common condition involving teeth grinding or clenching. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder can also cause a sore jaw. Both bruxism and TMJ disorder can cause mild to extreme discomfort.

Many aren’t aware they have either of these two conditions until their dental team informs them. Symptoms usually show up at night, making them hard to diagnose. Clenching, however, can also occur during the day.

Using a custom dental appliance can help manage these conditions.

Night Guards or Splints

Creating a custom night guard may require multiple dental visits. Your dentist will create a mold of your teeth, which will be sent to the laboratory technician. Once the appliance is ready, you can try it on your next dental appointment.

Your dentist will check its fit and comfort. If you feel uncomfortable with the appliance, your dentist will adjust it to ensure it does not feel too tight or loose.

Your dentist will also check how your mouth opens and closes when you’re wearing your night guard or splint.

If you’re already happy with the device, your dentist will clean and polish it and you can now take it with you. You will also be provided proper usage and care instructions so you can make the most of your appliance.

How long you’ll need to wear the appliance depends on the reason your dentist recommended it to you.

If it’s for bruxism, you may need to wear it until you no longer experience the condition. The same goes for TMJ disorders. You may discontinue the use of your night guard once the symptoms subside.

Your dentist will also invite you for checkups to see how you’re doing with your night guard. From there, you can find out how long you will still need to use it.

Diagnosing Teeth Grinding or Jaw Clenching

Teeth grinding or clenching can affect both children and adults. For adults, your partner or spouse may bring the symptoms to your attention.

For children, the habit may go away eventually. How their teeth develop can also have a role whether the habit continues or not. A person may also clench due to stress or exhaustion.

While these conditions are linked to various issues, there’s still no known scientific explanation on their origin. This does not mean, however, that there’s no help available for you.

Your dental team can assist you in managing both bruxism and TMJ disorders, and preventing pressure on your teeth.