March 18, 2019

Do I Need a Nightguard? How to Identify and Treat Bruxism

woman with sore jawThe American Dental Association estimates that 10 – 15 percent of adults in the U.S. suffer from bruxism. This condition, which is defined by involuntary and habitual teeth grinding, can have serious oral health consequences if it does not receive a proper diagnosis and treatment. But how can you tell if you have bruxism? How can you stop the teeth grinding and save your smile from future problems? Dr. Paresh B. Patel is here to discuss these important issues.

Identifying Bruxism

For most people, bruxism occurs at night, which means you can’t simply train yourself to stop grinding your teeth. You have to be on the lookout for signs that point toward bruxism and then seek professional help. Here are a few common indicators of this condition:

  • You often wake up with a sore jaw.
  • Your teeth are becoming increasingly sensitive.
  • You experience pain that resembles an earache, even if there is nothing wrong with your ears.
  • You suffer from frequent headaches.
  • Your sleeping partner tells you that you grind or clench your teeth at night.

Nightguards: An Effective Bruxism Treatment

Bruxism can cause severe damage to teeth and lead to continual pain in the facial muscles, which is why treatment is so important. When you visit Dr. Patel for your bruxism consultation, he’ll examine your mouth, talk to you a bit about your habits and lifestyle, and try to pinpoint the cause of your bruxism. From there, he will recommend an appropriate treatment.

In many cases, stress is a primary contributor to bruxism. While you are trying to make adjustments in your life to reduce your stress levels, you may need to wear a nightguard while you sleep. It will keep your teeth apart from one another and help your jaw muscles to relax. A nightguard can also be useful if you have seasonal allergies or suffer from irregular breathing at night, both of which can lead to bruxism.

Nightguards are available over the counter at most pharmacies, but such appliances tend to be uncomfortable and may not fit very well. A custom nightguard from Dr. Patel will provide you with superior comfort and protection for your smile.

Other Bruxism Treatments

In some cases, structural problems with the teeth or jaw are the culprit behind bruxism. If that is true of you, orthodontic treatment may be the best way to address the issue. Dr. Patel is qualified to provide services that correct tooth misalignment, leading to a more functional bite and a reduced risk of teeth grinding.

Are you suffering from bruxism? Addressing the issue as soon as possible with a nightguard or other treatment can save your teeth from premature wear and tear and help you find relief from your orofacial pain.

About the Author

Dr. Paresh B. Patel is a highly accomplished general dentist who has been helping patients achieve healthier smiles for over 25 years. Our practice won Living Magazine’s recognition for being the Best Family Dentist and Best Cosmetic Dentist in Frisco and Plano in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, Dr. Patel’s peers voted him Best Dentist in DFW, as listed in D Magazine. If you would like to speak to Dr. Patel about correcting your bruxism or other oral health issues, contact our office at 469-362-3150.

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