Clenching and Bruxism
Once diagnosed and confirmed to be signs of bruxism or night grinding, an occlusal guard (also known as a bite guard or night guard) is fabricated. Symptoms or failure to have a night guard made can include the following:
Fractured teeth: Teeth can cave to the unrelenting pressure of grinding and end up cracked or fractured, requiring professional treatment or even extraction.
Yellowed teeth: The best way to make your teeth look whiter is to prevent yellowing or discoloration from occurring. Grinding can prematurely age teeth, accelerating their yellowing and worsening their aesthetics.
Gum recession: Depending on your size, grinding can exert 400-600 pounds of force per square inch of tooth surface. This pressure can push the gums away from the teeth and cause irreversible recession that can then lead to decay as bacteria settles into the recessed space. Gum recession can also lead to sensitivity.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD): Grinding teeth also puts a lot of pressure in the temporomandibular joint, which can lead to TMD. TMD is also sometimes called TMJ, and the disorder can cause ongoing pain in the joint, clicking or popping of the jaw, as well as difficulty chewing.