Clenching and grinding your teeth can lead to a number of long-term problems. Unfortunately, most people who clench and grind do so at night, when they are unable to control the action. Because clenching and grinding are something you do unconsciously, use of a nightguard is one of the best ways to keep the habit from damaging your teeth. You can find out more about nightguards from our Centennial dentist, who is dedicated to keeping your teeth strong and healthy.
Causes of Clenching and Grinding
The causes of clenching and grinding can vary. In addition, clenching and grinding can be a symptom of other problems that need to be addressed. Some issues that can cause grinding include:
- TMJ disorder
If clenching or grinding are symptoms of misalignment or TMD (also known as TMJ), your dentist will probably want to investigate the root cause and provide appropriate treatment. In addition, your dentist might recommend a nightguard to reduce the side effects of clenching and grinding.
Using a Nightguard
A nightguard is a latex appliance that is custom-molded to fit your mouth. Your dentist uses a special gel to make a mold of your teeth. The nightguard is then manufactured in an offsite lab. When it returns from the lab, your dentist will have you try it on and make any necessary modifications so that it is comfortable.
For the best results, you should wear your nightguard all night, every night. The hard latex helps protect the surfaces of your teeth from damage when you clench and grind. It won’t stop the actual grinding, but it will greatly reduce the risk that you might inadvertently damage your teeth.
If you do not wear the nightguard every night, not only will your teeth possibly be damaged, but after a couple of weeks the nightguard might not fit properly anymore. This is because your teeth might move in small increments that cause the mold of your bite to no longer be accurate. So, for the best possible results, wear the nightguard regularly and contact our office for any questions you have!