Grinding teeth is caused by many variables, so one approach is discover the cause.
Some medications can affect your body which can increase muscle hyperactivity which can increase your gritting teeth at night.
Of course excessive stress is always possible and should be addressed to evaluate if you have had an increase of stress in your life.
As a dentist, I always consider the possible contribution of a bad bite. This however is not always easy to diagnose without going through a multi-appointment TMJ therapy process to erase your brains' memory of any existing interferences with your bite.
Most people have an imperfect bite. But I believe God made our body to be able to adjust to the various degrees of a bad bite. But, some people just can't adjust to the imperfections in the function of our bite with accompanying interferences that may be present in our envelope of function.
The envelope of function is just the possible area where our jaw moves when we chew food. So, when there are interferences from our teeth (some teeth are just in the way of the envelope of function), then that can cause muscle fatigue and sometimes pain.
As you are trying to discover the cause of your teeth grinding, you might want to wear a good night guard to protect your teeth and reduce your muscle discomfort.
Many or most night guards fail at relaxing your jaw muscles. In fact, even custom night guards from the dental office many times do not pass the test to relax muscles and may cause even more tension to stop grinding teeth.
If your dentist only adjusted your night guard once when the night guard was delivered to you, then there is a good chance that interferences still exist on the night guard.
I think most would pass the test, but maybe about 25% of custom mouthguards may need to be adjusted more than once...and maybe even up to 4 or 5 times.
If you choose to wear a night guard, a custom made guard from your dentist is a good option. But if you want to try an OTC guard, the SmartGuard is a good option also. I designed the SmartGuard based upon a design I started making for my patients in my office back in 1993.
The design is an anterior deprogramming design which does not allow the back teeth to touch. With only the front teeth contacting, the ability of the jaw to clench and grind significantly reduces.
I tested several OTC night guards and identified the strengths and weaknesses to incorporate the positives in the SmartGuard and reduce the negatives.
So, if you want to reduce or stop your grinding teeth, the SmartGuard is an excellent choice.
Dr. David Spainhower