What you need to know about teeth grinding and clenching

best dentists RichardsonPatients with bruxism either grind or clench their teeth, and they’re often unaware of it because it happens while patients are sleeping. Even when bruxism occurs during the daytime, patients still may not be conscious of the habit. They often come to their dentists with complaints of jaw pain, earaches, tooth sensitivity and insomnia, among other symptoms. Of course, those patients’ spouses and partners also gripe about a lack of sleep at night.

If you have bruxism, it’s important to have this condition addressed and controlled by your dentist. Over time, bruxism can wear down the teeth, making them less effective in their main function—chewing.

The best dentists in Richardson can recommend interventions to reduce the impact of nighttime grinding and clenching. The most common treatment requires the patient to wear a custom-designed mouthguard while sleeping. This mouthguard may decrease the occurrences of clenching and grinding, in addition to protecting the teeth from the adverse effects of bruxism.

Patients who grind their teeth should opt for a mouthguard from the dentist rather than choosing a boil-and-bite appliance that can be purchased in a local drug store. A guard provided by the dentist offers the best fit available, while boil-and-bite guards often don’t measure up in that area.

Because bruxism can have a wide variety of causes, your dentist may recommend additional treatments for the condition. Stress is often a culprit, so patients who grind their teeth may want to explore relaxation techniques. Symptoms can be managed as well. The pain and discomfort that result from bruxism can be alleviated with ice, heat or over-the-counter pain medications.

Physical therapy targeted at the jaw muscles may also be helpful in relieving pain, as may self-massage techniques. Your dentist may also recommend that you cut out caffeine and alcohol, both of which may exacerbate grinding.

If you have unexplained jaw pain that may be caused by bruxism, or if your spouse or partner has complained about your habit of grinding your teeth in your sleep, visit a dentist for a thorough evaluation. Click here to see a list of the best dentists in Richardson, who can treat this condition.