Do you need a nightguard?

woman putting her nightguard in mouth

One of the most common issues we see patients suffering from is bruxism. That’s nighttime grinding and clenching of the jaw. The interesting thing about bruxism is that most people don’t even realize they suffer from it until more advanced symptoms begin to make an appearance. Early treatment of bruxism can save you time, money, and pain in the long run.

What exactly is bruxism?

Bruxism is a common condition that affects about 40 million American adults and children. It’s characterized by grinding and/or clenching teeth while one is sleeping.

What are the symptoms of bruxism?

Many patients don’t realize they have bruxism until they begin to see symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include contractions in your jaw. Some people grind so loud that they actually wake themselves up at night. Others simply wake up in the morning with tight and painful jaw muscles, and suffer from long-lasting facial pain.

Over time, bruxism can lead to broken teeth, cracked teeth, and even an increase in decay and infection. Many people wear their teeth down so bad that they need cosmetic dental work to correct the damage that has been done and resume normal use of their mouth.

How do you treat grinding?

Preemptively treating tooth grinding is the best way to protect yourself from serious long-term damage. The best way to do this is through the use of a nightguard. A nightguard is a plastic protective device that is molded to fit the unique shape of your teeth, lips, gums, and dental arches. It helps by providing a barrier between your top and bottom job, thus greatly reducing the friction typically caused by bruxism.

The process of getting a nightguard is super simple and is typically accomplished in two visits. During the first visit, the dentist will examine your mouth and take impressions. He will then have those impressions sent to a lab so that a custom mouth guard can be made. Finally, he will bring you in to try on your new nightguard and make any adjustments.

Caring for a Nightguard

Once you have a nightguard, it’s important to take good care of it so that it can be used every night. This means that you rinse it out with cold water after each use. Avoid the temptation to chew on it. And never boil it. Instead, use your toothbrush and toothpaste to gently brush it, then place it on a clean towel to dry. Store it in a case that has small holes that allow air to circulate, so that you don’t have any issues with mold or mildew growing.

If you believe you suffer from bruxism or are simply wanting to act preemptively and protect yourself in advance, contact our office. Dr. Planes can help get you fitted with a mouthguard that works for you and will recommend any treatment needed to mitigate issues already caused by bruxism. His goal is to positively impact your overall oral health and ensure you enjoy a healthy mouth throughout your life.