Teeth Grinding , also known as Bruxism , can occur as a habit while you are awake or as an unconscious behavior while you are asleep. Nocturnal Bruxism usually occurs during a phase of sleep where the patient has no recall of the activity.
This is often a very intense activity that can lead to severe attrition and fracture of teeth as well as Temporomandibular (TMJ) Disorders.
Prevention of damage from nocturnal bruxism is often accomplished with occlusal appliances sometimes referred to as Splints or Nightguards
It is important to see a dentist who is trained in treating TMJ Disorders (TMD) to evaluate your condition and deliver a properly designed and equilibrated splint. Improperly constructed and adjusted appliances could lead to pain and further damage to your teeth and jaws.
If you are aware of clenching or grinding your teeth while you are conscious it is important to note that your teeth should only touch together while you are chewing or momentarily when you swallow. Any other tooth contact is considered parafunctional and can lead to problems.
Evidence of Nocturnal Bruxism could include soreness , pain, and/or popping in your jaws, teeth attrition or fracture of teeth from unknown origins, or wedge shaped defects and recession at the gum line of your teeth (abfraction lesions).
If you suspect that you have this problem it is important to discuss this with your Dentist. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent more serious damage to your teeth and jaws and may help you avoid extensive and expensive teeth rehabilitation.