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How Do I Know When It Is Time for a Mouth Guard?

Posted July 02, 2021 in Night Guards

3 Minute Read: 

There are many reasons why people grind their teeth, especially at night, and excessive tension can lead to jaw disorders called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) and tooth problems. 

Bruxism is the disorder that causes people to grind their teeth. Your dentist will look at certain factors to determine whether it is time for you to have occlusal adjustments or implement certain relaxation techniques. 

They will also be able to tell you when it is time to get a mouth guard.

Women smiling and pretending to sleep, wearing a mouth guard against a white background.

How Do I Know If I’m Grinding My Teeth in My Sleep?

It can be challenging to determine if you grind your teeth at night, particularly as you are not conscious. Some people only find out that they grind their teeth once a partner or family member tells them that they are. 

Fortunately, there are other signs that you may grind your teeth. For example, if you are prone to waking up with a headache, bruxism might be a very real possibility. Other factors that your dentist will look at are the wearing down of your teeth and jaw pain. 

To learn more about what is causing your dental pain, read our blog discussing Acute vs. Chronic Toothache.

Approximately 10 to 15 percent of adults are affected with bruxism in the United States. If you are under a lot of stress, this can lead to grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw when resting.

What Damage Can Grinding My Teeth Do?

Grinding your teeth can cause numerous aesthetic and functional dental issues. 

Repeated grinding can damage healthy teeth, crack tooth restorations, cause temporal headaches, and result in jaw disorders. Additionally, it can lead to sensitive, irritated gums. 

Another issue that can occur with grinding teeth is ear pain. This is associated with grinding and clenching the jaw. You might also experience a popping or locking jaw.

How Can a Mouth Guard Help?

Wearing a mouth guard when you sleep can provide significant benefits.

  • A mouth guard can provide relief from the pain associated with grinding of the teeth and jaw clenching. 
  • Mouth guards help relax the muscles that are usually very tight in the jaw area, which will lessen headaches caused by grinding the teeth. 
  • A mouth guard can also help to correct jaw alignment, fixing the popping or locking effect. 
  • Mouth guards will help to protect your teeth from chipping and damage due to the grinding, therefore preventing costly repairs later down the line. 
  • The joints in your jaw can become damaged over time, and a mouth guard will help prevent this. 

Getting the right fit is important to ensure that the mouth guard provides the correct relief.

For more tips about choosing the right mouth guard, read our blog here.

Need a Mouth Guard?

To find out more about how a mouth guard can help you, and if you need one, contact Gentle Care Dentistry at (575) 524-3722 or request a consultation online.