Do you clench or grind your teeth while you're sleeping? That was a trick question. How would you know what you do while you're asleep? Almost everyone clenches their teeth at night and many grind them too. The technical terminology for teeth grinding is "bruxism" and when it occurs during sleep, it is known as "nocturnal bruxism." Hundreds of studies have shown that nocturnal bruxism often leads to symptoms including worn and fractured teeth, head, neck, and face pain, migraines and headaches.
Oftentimes dental splints, commonly known as night guards are prescribed by dentists for bruxers. These nightguards are available in a variety of different designs and are fabricated using a number of different materials. They are usually prescribed by a dentist and created by a dental laboratory. However, over-the-counter (OTC) appliances can be purchased at drug stores but should be avoided at all cost. They are not custom fit for the user and can possibly increase TMJ pain. OTC night guards are typically not durable and very difficult to wear due to their excessive bulk. Regardless of the cheap price tag, if it doesn't relieve your symptoms, breaks easily, or can't be worn at all, it's not doing you any good at all!