If you have frequent headaches, earaches, sensitive teeth or fatigued jaw muscles, you may be in the habit of clenching or grinding your teeth. The evidence of this can usually be seen as wear areas on the teeth or cracks caused by the heavy pressure.
Bruxism or grinding of the teeth can also make periodontal disease worse, cause bite problems and pain or mis-alignment of the jaw joint (TMJ). Bruxism can also cause esthetic concerns by wearing down the teeth and changing the smile Staining can also occur in the worn areas which gives the smile a dull and aged appearance.
The occlusal guard will interrupt the grinding process. The appliance may not completely break the habit but it will stop further damage to the teeth, alleviate pain and allow for a more restful sleep. An occlusal guard (some-times called a night guard) is made of plastic and most often fits over the upper teeth. Many people wear the ap-pliance at night.