Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding and jaw clenching. This behavior is generally unconscious and can occur, unnoticed, when you’re awake (awake bruxism) or asleep (nocturnal bruxism).
Persistent Bruxism can result in damage to teeth and stress to the jaw muscles and joints. Dentists can often tell you have bruxism by identifying characteristic marks on your teeth. They may also suspect bruxism if you display symptoms of TMD (temporomandibular disorder), a condition characterized by stress or injury to jaw joints and/or the muscles that power your jaw. Symptoms can include aching jaw and facial muscles, sensitive teeth and headaches. With Nocturnal Bruxism you may experience symptoms on awakening that will diminish during the day. With Awake Bruxism you may feel fine when you get up, but experience worsening symptoms as the day progresses.
Tooth damage (cracked or broken teeth, broken fillings, sensitive teeth), can be addressed through normal dental interventions, but they fix problems after the damage has been done. To prevent future damage and simultaneously reduce/eliminate TMD symptoms, Dr. Michalos may prescribe an appropriate Occlusal Guard. Occlusal Guards may be worn only at night, or day and night, and prevent teeth from grinding and damaging each other.