Many people who grind their teeth at night do not realize it, but a dentist may notice wear and tear on your enamel during a routine check-up. Your partner may also hear it at night. If you wake up feeling tired and deal with jaw pain and tenderness, and frequent headaches, you can ask your dentist if a mouthguard can help. While there is no one cause of bruxism, it is often associated with stress and excess caffeine. It can also be due to your bite alignment, poor oral posture, or disorders such as sleep apnea.
While mouthguards do not stop bruxism, they keep your jaw in place at night and provide extra cushioning to reduce tension. After a few nights with your mouthguard, you should wake up feeling more refreshed and relaxed, and stress in your body that you may not have noticed will often relax.
If your dentist determines you need a mouth guard, they will take impressions of your teeth to send to the dental lab. Unlike store-bought appliance, your night guard is crafted to fit over your teeth and push your jaw forward while you rest at night. It will provide a lot more cushioning than a stock guard, and it will stay in place better and last longer.
Once your mouthguard is ready, your dentist will discuss the best way to wear it and care for it each night to reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay and help it last longer. With proper care, your night guard can last between 5-10 years, depending on how much you grind your teeth each night.