Teeth grinding and clenching, also called bruxism, is associated with stress and sometimes caffeine and stimulants. As bruxism most often occurs at night, some people may not realize they do it, but the signs and symptoms show in the teeth.
Teeth grinding and clenching are common habits that can have harmful effects on the teeth. Symptoms include:
- Jaw pain
- Worn tooth from repeated friction
- Loosened teeth
- Teeth that are sensitive to temperature
If damage to your teeth or existing dental work is evident, your dentist might recommend a custom-made night guard, also called an occlusal guard. Similar to an athlete’s mouthguard, it’s made of plastic and creates a cushion between your teeth to protect them from adverse effects. It also protects your jaw joints from excessive force.
Occlusal guards might also be helpful if you have a bite issue, where some teeth might receive more of the impact of clenching than others.