For some people, sleep is neither rejuvenating nor refreshing but the cause of headaches, facial muscle soreness, neck and shoulder pain, all of which may be attributed to night bruxism.

Bruxism is the subconscious clenching and grinding of teeth. This mostly occurs during sleep and times of stress, with many sufferers unaware of their condition until it is diagnosed during their dental checkup. Bruxism can result in abnormal wear to your teeth including the dislodging of fillings, and cracking or chipping of your natural teeth or fillings.

Signs and symptoms of bruxism may include:

  • Teeth grinding or clenching loud enough to wake your sleep partner
  • Teeth that have worn down, become flattened, chipped or cracked
  • Increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Jaw pain or tightness in your jaw muscles
  • Ear ache not caused by an infection
  • A dull morning headache
  • Facial pain

A custom-made night guard can absorb the biting force while you are sleeping and prevent further damage to your teeth and fillings during sleep, it also moves your teeth and jaw to their correct position so your muscles can relax. On very rare occasions, muscle relaxant medication may be prescribed.