Address: 3325 Premier Drive, Plano, TX 75023

Do I Need a Night Guard?

Bruxism is the term for a condition where people clench or grind their teeth (bruxing). Grinding or clenching while asleep is known as sleep bruxism, and it can be harder to detect because people don’t realize they’re doing it while sleeping.

This condition is seen most frequently with children, adolescents, and young adults (though middle-aged and older people deal with it as well). Sleep bruxism can lead to long-term teeth damage, which may even require surgery. Because of this many patients wear a night guard while they sleep.

Patients in the Plano, TX area looking for relief from conditions like sleep bruxism can benefit from the dental expertise of Drs. Kari Blankenship, Bhavita Patel, and the staff at Dental Renaissance.

What are the symptoms of sleep bruxism?

The primary symptom of the condition is the characteristic clenching and grinding of the teeth during sleep. It is not unlike chewing while awake but more forceful. It can happen multiple nights in a row or only a few times. Since the patient will not be aware of the condition initially, family members or loved ones may notice and inform them.

Other symptoms are likely caused during sleep bruxism, including:

People with sleeping bruxism may also have other sleep disorders, like sleep apnea and snoring. 

What can it do to teeth?

Mild forms of the conditions don’t usually require treatment, but severe cases can be harmful and do lasting damage. Teeth may erode, become painful, become loose and it can damage dental crowns, fillings, and implants.

Not only that, but sleep bruxism can damage the jaw over time. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which connects the lower jaw to the skull can be compromised. This can cause chronic pain in the jaw, difficulty chewing, popping or clicking noises, locking of the jaw, and other issues. The severity of the condition will dictate how bad the symptoms are and the long term effects.

How does a night guard help?

A night guard is simply a mouthguard you wear at night during sleep. Wearing them helps put a barrier between the upper and lower teeth while sleeping, which can offer relief from clenching and prevent grinding. This helps to relieve face and jaw pain, but it also protects the enamel of your teeth. 

Determining if you have sleep bruxism may require polysomnography or a sleep study. But in cases where the damage is evident, like tooth damage and jaw pain, treatments like night guards are a safe and simple fix to help reduce symptoms and save teeth over a patient’s lifetime.

If you think you may be dealing with sleep bruxism, make an appointment with Drs. Blankenship, Patel, and Dental Renaissance to get diagnosed and treated today.

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