How to stop grinding your teeth with a nightguard

Grinding and clenching your teeth at night is common in people of all ages, but it can be alleviated with a nightguard. Without treatment, jaw pain, headaches and other serious dental health problems can arise.

Why do I grind my teeth?

Bruxism, or excessive teeth grinding can lead to stress fractures and other dental problems if not treated properly. But why do people grind and clench their teeth at night?

There are several reasons that teeth grinding occurs:

  • During sleep, our brains react to the stress of the day. This leads to internalizing stress which causes you to grind or clenching your teeth at night.
  • Misaligned or missing teeth can cause you to grind your teeth.
  • Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders are other causes of teeth grinding.

What can you do if you grind your teeth?

If not treated, excessive grinding wears down protective tooth enamel. The enamel can crack, loosen teeth and cause decay. Bruxism can also lead to jaw pain and TMJ. If you suspect that you grind your teeth at night, or if a loved one has mentioned it, there are some steps you can take to protect your teeth and jaw.

Treatment options for teeth grinding include:

  • Use a nightguard or mouth guard. This is a clear plastic piece that fits over the top or bottom teeth to protect them. There are two types of nightguards from which to choose. Custom made nightguards are molded to your teeth and provide a perfect fit, allowing you to breath properly while you sleep. They are made to be durable and last for years with proper care and cleaning. There are also one-size-fits-all nightguards available. This is a less expensive option that works for many people. But, over-the-counter nightguards can cause your bite to shift since they are not custom fitted. Talk to Dr. Jayne about your options.
  • Relax your jaw with exercise. Certain jaw exercises can help to relax muscles and minimize nighttime clenching and grinding. Stretching the mouth open widely, with the lower jaw forced forward, relaxes muscles. If you catch yourself clenching at night, you can also try placing your tongue between your teeth to stop.
  • Avoid bad habits. If you tend to bite down on pens or pencils or chew gum, these activities make you clench your jaw. Avoid these bad habits to retrain your brain and jaw muscles to stop relying on clenching to relieve stress.

· Use a nightguard or mouth guard. This is a clear plastic piece that fits over the top or bottom teeth to protect them. There are two types of nightguards from which to choose. Custom made nightguards are molded to your teeth and provide a perfect fit, allowing you to breath properly while you sleep. They are made to be durable and last for years with proper care and cleaning. There are also one-size-fits-all nightguards available. This is a less expensive option that works for many people. But, over-the-counter nightguards can cause your bite to shift since they are not custom fitted. Talk to Dr. Jayne about your options.

· Relax your jaw with exercise. Certain jaw exercises can help to relax muscles and minimize nighttime clenching and grinding. Stretching the mouth open widely, with the lower jaw forced forward, relaxes muscles. If you catch yourself clenching at night, you can also try placing your tongue between your teeth to stop.

· Avoid bad habits. If you tend to bite down on pens or pencils or chew gum, these activities make you clench your jaw. Avoid these bad habits to retrain your brain and jaw muscles to stop relying on clenching to relieve stress.

If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth at night, make an appointment with Dr. Jayne. He’ll evaluate the condition of your jaw and teeth for signs of impact and wear. He’ll also help you find the right solution to improve your dental health to keep your teeth and jaw as healthy as possible.

Making an appointment with Dr. Jayne is easy. Schedule your appointment online or give our office a call at 425-644-2205.

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