Everyone grinds their teeth occasionally, especially when sleeping. Some people only clench, but many both clench and grind. Sometimes we catch ourselves grinding during the daytime, especially when we’re under stress, like trying to meet a deadline or being stuck in traffic. It would be great if you could simply say, “If my dentist/hygienist tells me that I grind my teeth at night, then I’ll just stop doing it.” We wish it was that simple.
Not everyone who grinds their teeth develops TMJ symptoms (formally known as TMD or Temporal Mandibular Disorder). The most common symptoms are:
- Pain in the jaw joint (found right in front of your ear)
- Stiff or sore chewing muscles
- Headaches, especially in your temples
- Even a stiff or sore neck
Depending on a number of variables related to your dental and medical histories, sometimes a night guard can help relieve, and possibly even eliminate, your symptoms. A night guard is an oral appliance that you wear when you sleep; it’s like a thick retainer. It doesn’t stop you from clenching or grinding; however, it keeps your jaw in a position that could alleviate pain.
How do I get one? We perform a detailed TMJ exam, take some measurements and impressions and then custom fit your night guard when you return about a week later.
Here’s what one looks like:
P.S. Do not buy an over-the-counter, “one size fits all” night guard. This is one of the rare instances when Dr. Gotsch will pull out his soapbox and preach. OTC night guards tend to exacerbate, rather than relieve, pain.
Contact Elmhurst Smiles today at 630-834-8055 to schedule your consultation with our experienced dentist, Dr. Philip Gotsch, and learn more about how TMJ/TMD treatment in Elmhurst, Illinois, can improve your quality of life.