Teeth grinding (bruxism) can occur at any time of day and in any time of life. Most people are not aware of their grinding habit because people often grind in their sleep. Stress has been linked as a cause of bruxism, but usually the cause is unknown. Damage to the teeth can include worn teeth, chipping, mobile teeth, cracked teeth, damages to existing crowns or fillings, and gum problems. Usually other non-tooth symptoms are also noted. These can include a sore jaw, neck, head and earaches, and a clicking or popping sound upon opening. If grinding is allowed to continue, it can lead to jaw joint and muscle problems and even the loss of teeth.
After complete evaluation and diagnosis by the dentist, a nightguard (mouthguard) might be prescribed. Nightguards are plastic devices that can be worn on the top or bottom teeth to help protect your teeth from grinding. This guard is worn when you are most likely to grind- for most people at night.