Bruxism is the dental term for teeth grinding and clenching. Grinding and clenching may cause wear of the enamel of the teeth sometimes even fractures of the teeth, recession of the gums (the pulling down of the gum tissue from it's natural level), bone loss around the teeth and TMJ (jaw joint) disorder.
Many people are not aware of a grinding/clenching habit until their dentist or dental hygienist point out warning signs within the mouth. Also, people who grind/clench may have extraoral symptoms such as headaches, ear, neck, facial or jaw pain. Grinding usually occurs during the night because it is a subconscious neuromuscular disorder. Clenching can occur during both the day and night.
A custom-made night guard is recommended for those who grind/clench their teeth to prevent further wear/breakdown of the tooth structure. Use of a nightguard can also help relax the TMJ (jaw joint), muscles of the face, head, and neck thus preventing excess strain and the subsequent discomfort that may come with it. Keep the TMJ joint in neutral position with a night guard fitted to your mouth. Night guards that are custom fit by the dentist leave the TMJ (jaw joint) in a neutral position. The guard trains the joint to relax and relieves pressure.