Bruxism is the technical term for forcible grinding and clenching of the teeth. It usually happens at night, during sleep, although some people also grind their teeth during the day. Because most bruxism happens at night, most sufferers aren't even aware of it until a sleep partner mentions the noise or until a dentist notices that their teeth are worn or damaged. Bruxism, if untreated, can cause teeth to become painful or loose. Patients can literaly grind away parts of their teeth, leaving them with worn surfaces or fractured enamel. Most adults at some time experience bruxism without any noticeable problem. If your have been told that you grind your teeth at night, inform your dentist.
Placing a protective plastic barrier between the top and bottom teeth is the best-known solution to prevent direct tooth wear. The plastic night guard type appliance sandwiched between the teeth, wears away when the teeth start to brux or clench, rather than the teeth wearing. This night guard therapy should begin as soon as premature wear of the teeth is detected.
HOW ARE CUSTOM NIGHT GUARDS MADE?
When an assistant makes a custom guard they start the process by way of taking an impression of their patient's teeth. The assistant will first choose an appropriately sized "impression tray." They will then fill this tray with "impression material" (a paste-like substance that sets within a few minutes after having been mixed). They will then seat the filled impression tray over the teeth and gums that need to be copied. Once the impression material has solidified the assistant will remove the tray from the patient's mouth (even when set impression materials are still flexible).
The dental impression is then filled with plaster so to form a cast. The net result is that the assistant now has a three-dimensional representation of the patient's hard and soft tissues that the mouthguard needs to cover over. The mouthguard will be made so it fits on the plaster cast accurately. Once the mouthguard has been fabricated (the time allowed for the fabrication process may be just a few days or even a few weeks) the dentist will have the dental patient return to their office so they can evaluate the guard's fit and refine it as is necessary.