Bruxism and Clenching - Occlusal Guard

Bruxism is characterized by grinding of the teeth and is often accompanied by clenching of the lower jaw. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth together during the day or grind them at night. Bruxism can be frequent and severe enough to lead to headaches, damaged teeth, jaw disorders, temporomandibular joint (“TMJ”) problems, and other issues. When you have sleep (“nocturnal”) bruxism most people are unaware of it until the complications and/or symptoms arrive. 

Here are the signs and symptoms of bruxism:
  • When others complain that you grind your teeth so loud that it wakes them up.
  • Teeth Sensitivity
  • Larger Jaw Muscles
  • Headaches
  • Teeth are flattened, chipped, or fracture
  • Indentations on your tongue
  • Earaches or soreness in the jaws or areas right in front of the ears
  • Chewed tissue on the inside of your cheeks

Some situations that will increase your risk of bruxism:

  • Increased stress and anxiety
  • Anger and frustration
  • Sleep cycle changes
  • Aggressive, competitive, or hyperactive personality
  • Side effects from some anti-depressants
  • Malocclusion
  • In children: A response to pain from teething or an earache
  • In children: The development or growth of jaws and teeth

Since each person is different and presents unique circumstances, oral appliances are not for everyone. If you have any questions or concerns. Please call for an appointment.

If Dr. Della Bella recommends that you wear an Occusal Guard it is to protect your teeth from wear during your sleep.  The Occusal guard is a U-shaped , clear appliance that fits snuggly on your upper teeth.  It is made of a special acrylic double-laminated material that is soft on the inside and extremely hard on the outside.  You are to wear it every night and if you notice that you are clenching during the day you may also consider wearing it then too.