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How to Tell if You Need a Mouth Guard

Mouth guards are designed to protect your teeth from grinding while you sleep. There are a few different signs that you can look for if you’re curious you may need one.


1. You have chipped teeth

jim carrey chipped tooth

If your teeth are chipped, it’s a sign that you may grind your teeth and need a mouthguard. The enamel on your teeth can take a lot of wear and tear but repeated grinding can weaken the enamel, resulting in chips and cracks. For more information read our post, “How to Tell if Your Tooth is Cracked.”

2. You chronically grind your teeth

grinding teeth at night

If you know that you grind your teeth, either because it wakes you up or your partner tells you so, it’s best to go and see a dentist. Grinding can be a stress-response and if you lead a high-stress life your grinding is not likely to go away. A mouth guard can help by being a protective barrier between your teeth, although it will not stop you from continually grinding or clenching your jaw muscles.

3. You notice “pot-holes” on your teeth

pot holes erosion on teeth

“Pot-holes” on your teeth are places where your tooth has worn down from tooth-on-tooth grinding. The marks look like small pits on the tops of your teeth that are the result of repeated wear. Other physical signs of grinding are fracture lines or your teeth looking shorter than you remember.

4. You frequently wake up with a headache

man waking up with headache

If you wake up with a headache or jaw/face pain most mornings it is likely that you grind your teeth. Grinding your teeth and working your jaw muscles all night can be very painful and cause strain and soreness on facial joints. Chewing during the day typically applies 20-40 pounds of force on your teeth per square inch, but grinding at night typically applies about 250 pounds of force per square inch, so there’s a reason your head hurts!

5. You have TMJD

tmj tmd

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction or TMJD is when the jaw joint and connected muscles are inflamed, and movement of the jaw is painful. TMJD is caused by disk erosion, cartilage damage, teeth-grinding, and injury. One of the most common treatments is a mouth guard but some dentists may prescribe additional medication or physical therapy.

6. You take antidepressants 


Studies show that chemicals found in certain antidepressants cause teeth grinding. If you are on antidepressants, ask your doctor about potential side effects, as teeth grinding may be one of them.


If you’re worried about grinding, ask your dentist to have a look because it can have a negative domino-effect on your oral health!


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