Bite or clenching/grinding guards, as they are often referred to, are worn while you sleep to reduce the stress on your jaw muscles and the wear on your teeth. Even if you clench your teeth in the daytime, an appliance worn at night will help to stretch your jaw muscles and decrease daytime tightness.
Clenching your jaw excessively when you are stressed or during sleep is very common but can damage teeth and lead to headaches, joint problems and tooth fractures. Untreated, clenching and grinding your teeth can cause hypersensitivity to hot and cold, fractures, and even loosen teeth. Early diagnosis and treatment can ward off pain before it starts and helps you avoid the problems associated with this condition.
There are many options for patients including the choice of upper or lower appliances. In some cases, even if you are not aware of signs or symptoms, your dentist will be able to diagnose signs of progressive enamel wear and will suggest a nightguard to prevent the development of additional signs and symptoms (like jaw soreness and headaches).