Many people grind and clench their teeth from time to time. Occasional teeth grinding, medically called bruxism, does not usually cause harm, but when teeth grinding occurs on a regular basis it may result in poor sleep, a sore jaw, or headache when waking, as well as the potential for tooth fracture, loosening of teeth, or the loss of teeth. Grinding over years without treatment can wear the teeth down, exposing the second layer of tooth structure which will require bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, or possibly even dentures.
Through a regular exam, Dr. Graves may identify whether teeth grinding or clenching may be significantly affecting a patient's health. The solution is to create a custom night guard. A night guard is a thin polymer that has been shaped in the mold of your teeth that simply prevents the teeth from making contact with each other and eliminates most of the damage that results from teeth grinding.