Do I Need a Night Guard for Bruxism?

woman sitting up in bed, possibly in pain

Bruxism or teeth grinding is a condition where you excessively clench and grind your teeth unconsciously. There are two different types, nocturnal and awake. Nocturnal bruxism happens when you are asleep while awake bruxism takes place while you are awake.

Bruxism can have minimal symptoms, and without your awareness, you can end up having worn-down teeth and eventually lose them. Dental damage can be the same for both types of teeth grinding. Your dentist may recommend using a night guard for the condition.

What Is a Night Guard?

A night guard or an occlusal guard is a mouth guard. It is customized to fit your teeth, preventing them from grinding while you are asleep. Your dentist can give you one, or you can buy an over-the-counter night guard at a reliable drug store. Night guards are less intrusive, and it is better to have your dentist give you a custom fit. This will guard all your teeth entirely.

Causes of Bruxism

Most people grind their teeth when they are anxious or stressed. You are likely experiencing the condition if you have crooked teeth, an abnormal bite, or missing teeth. Some of these factors can increase your risk of getting bruxism:

  • Stress - Frustration, anxiety, and anger can increase your risk of teeth grinding

  • Family history of bruxism - You are likely to have the condition if you have family members with a history of grinding their teeth

  • Age - Young children commonly suffer from it

  • Medications - Bruxism can come as a side effect of using psychiatric medications like antidepressants

  • Other conditions - Mental health and other medical disorders can lead to it. Some diseases such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or hyperactivity disorder can increase your risk of teeth grinding

Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism

Some signs and symptoms of bruxism are:

  • Loud teeth clenching and grinding

  • Fractured, chipped, loose, or flattened teeth

  • Extreme tooth sensitivity or pain

  • Worn out teeth enamel

  • Tight, locked, or tired jaws

  • Face, neck, or jaw soreness and pain

  • Headache that starts in your temples

  • Disruption of sleep

  • Pain that has been mistaken for an earache


Your dentist will check for signs of bruxism when you go for your regular dental exams. If there are any signs, your dentist will check for progression in your regular visits to determine your problem and the appropriate treatment.

Your dentist will ask you several questions about your routines, dental health, sleep habits, and medications to establish the problem. Your dentist is also likely to examine the extent of the condition by checking for dental abnormalities, state of your jaw muscles, and underlying bone damage.

Why Use a Night Guard for Bruxism?

Night guards are ideal for protecting your teeth from aging prematurely through grinding. Your dentist is likely to prescribe a night guard to protect your molars because of their susceptibility to wearing out. Night guards also protect the teeth's enamel from thinning. Using a night guard can relieve jaw muscle soreness caused by temporomandibular joint resulting from teeth grinding.

For more on bruxism, contact Dr. Sam’s Premier Dentistry at our office in Sherman, Texas. You can call 903-708-6400 today to schedule an appointment.