It is common knowledge that some people clench or grind their teeth during sleep. You yourself or a loved one may be suffering from this nighttime habit.
And while patients have been told that they probably clench their teeth in their sleep and they should have a nightguard, they don’t know what happens if they don’t get a nightguard.
When we bite down on our back teeth, our chewing muscles generate a tremendous amount of force. During waking hours when we eat our food we can control how hard we bite down. While sleeping, we no longer have this control. So the forces generated by the clenching during sleep can be much higher which places a great amount of stress on the teeth. These repetitive periods of stress on the teeth result in the teeth developing micro-fractures. Over time, these micro-fractures lead to an actually visible fracture where a piece of a tooth breaks off. At other times the nerve in the tooth gets damaged. There is a whole host of other problems that are caused by excessive nighttime clenching such as locked jaws and headaches.
The bottom line is that nighttime clenching and grinding of the teeth end up causing injuries to the teeth and the surrounding structures. These injuries could be minimized (or even avoided altogether) with the use of a properly fitted custom mouthguard.
There are different kinds of mouthguards for different problems. For example, people who have headaches due to their nighttime clenching need a different type of nightguard versus someone who is cracking and chipping their teeth.
Mouthguards range in price from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. However, they more than pay for themselves by saving you the cost of the dental treatment for fixing a broken tooth or a root canal therapy on one or multiple teeth.
Custom-made nightguards have proven to be effective in reducing the damaging effects of clenching or grinding. If you have been told in the past that you clench, or if you know you do even if no one has mentioned it, talk to your dental healthcare provider or contact us and Dr. Eslampour can help you determine if a nightguard is appropriate for you.