Bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding, can lead to significant dental pain, jaw tension, and many other symptoms. Fortunately, at Lakewood Dental Group, we offer effective bruxism treatment, including custom-made mouthguards. Drs. Shaun Sigurdson and Mihir Patel may also suggest lifestyle changes to improve your symptoms. And if bruxism has caused dental damage, our dentists in Dallas can provide appropriate restorative treatment

What causes bruxism? 

Bruxism is most commonly related to stress and anxiety. Less frequently, certain medications, such as SSRIs, can lead to teeth grinding. 

Bruxism is more common in children and teens than in adults. According to the Sleep Foundation, chronic teeth grinding affects 15% of adolescents, 8% of middle-aged adults, and only 3% of older adults

What are the symptoms of bruxism?

Teeth grinding often happens at night, so an evaluation of symptoms may be the only way to diagnose the condition. Signs of bruxism can include:

  • Tooth sensitivity 
  • Jaw tension and pain
  • Worn teeth 
  • Small cracks or chips on teeth
  • Chronic headaches
  • Ear pain
  • Indentions or sores on the tongue
  • Sores on the inside of the cheeks

What are my treatment options?  

A mouthguard is the most common treatment for bruxism. Made of plastic and custom-crafted from dental impressions, it will fit comfortably over your teeth. Most patients wear their mouthguards only at night, although if you clench your jaw during the day, you may find it helpful to wear your appliance more often. 

Along with a mouthguard, your Lakewood dentist may suggest lifestyle modifications to reduce grinding and clenching. For instance, changing your posture can help to relieve pressure on your jaw joints. 

If anxiety is causing your bruxism, stress reduction techniques may also minimize teeth grinding.

How long does it take to adjust to a mouthguard?

It may take up to six weeks to adjust to your oral appliance. After this initial period, however, it will feel like you have always slept with a mouthguard! 

How do I care for my mouthguard?

Immediately after removing your appliance, rinse it in warm water. Then brush it with a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste, soap and water, or diluted mouthwash. Allow it to dry completely before storing it in a protective case.  

It is also important to brush and floss your teeth before putting in your mouthguard. This will keep food and bacteria from being trapped between your teeth and the appliance. 

What would happen if I didn’t seek treatment?

Although bruxism does not seem like a serious concern, leaving it untreated can have major consequences for your oral health. Over time, chronic teeth grinding can wear down your teeth, causing small cracks, exposed dental pulp, and an increased risk for decay. It can also put tremendous pressure on your jaw, eventually leading to TMJ Disorder. Fortunately, when you begin wearing a mouthguard, these risks are greatly diminished. 

Put an End to Teeth Grinding with Help from a Lakewood Dentist 

If you are experiencing the symptoms of bruxism, contact Lakewood Dental Group today. Our team can assess your condition and provide effective care. End your jaw pain and protect your teeth when you schedule an appointment online or call 214-827-1885.