Does your jaw feel stiff or do you have difficulty opening your mouth wide? Are your teeth sensitive to cold drinks? Do your jaw muscles feel tired in the morning? You may be grinding your teeth at night (a medical condition called bruxism) or you may be clenching your teeth, which can be just as harmful. People with nighttime grinding habits may wear away their tooth enamel "ten times faster" than those without "abusive chewing habits." Eventually, your teeth may be worn down and destroyed.
In addition to relieving head, neck, jaw joint and shoulder pains, treating bruxism and clenching is cost effective compared to ignoring the condition and exposing teeth to continued grinding. Without treatment, crowns (caps), bridges, implants and dentures are often needed to repair or replace worn and damaged teeth. Ask if a mouth guard can help to provide temporary relief from grinding, bruxing or clenching.