They are hard coverings used to protect teeth from damage caused by grinding while you are asleep.
Research shows that 60%-70% of the population grind their teeth during the night (different strengths at different stages of life), sometimes the grinding is loud enough to be heard by a partner or someone who sleeps next to the grinder.
Grinding or clenching teeth which is also called bruxism causes a number of problems such as: Wearing out of teeth, cracking of back teeth, breakage of restorations and severe damage to the jaw joint (TMD) leading to clicking of the joints, headaches and pain.
If you notice any of the following symptoms, you may be experiencing bruxism:
- Rhythmic contractions of the jaw muscles
- A grinding sound at night
- Jaw muscles that are tight or painful
- Popping or clicking of the temporomandibular joint
- Long-lasting pain in the face
- Damaged teeth, broken dental fillings and injured gums
Some experts consider bruxism to be a habit, while others attribute it to one of the following:
- Stress, anxiety, frustration and anger
- A malocclusion, or when the teeth and jaw do not line up correctly
- A symptom of certain rare diseases of the nerves and muscles in the face
- In rare cases, it may be a side effect of some medicines that treat depression.
- A complication of Huntington or Parkinson’s disease
The most effective solution is to use a professionally made night guard (also called Occlusal splint), which prevents the teeth from scraping against each other while you sleep. We may also have to restore damaged teeth with fillings or crowns to maintain the proper shape and size of the teeth.
Biofeedback can be used for daytime grinders with the use of electronic instruments that measure muscle activity. These people can be taught how to reduce muscle activity when the biting force becomes too extreme for them. In addition, hypnosis has been studied to help individuals who suffer from sleep bruxism.
Occlusal splints can break the habit of grinding your teeth during the night and it is very easy to wear.