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When to Wear a Dental Mouthpiece

Discovering Bruxism

sore jaw 4Do you grind your teeth? If you said “no,” are you positive about that? Oftentimes, people grind their teeth during their sleep without realizing it. In fact, some people have been unfortunate enough to discover a bruxism (teeth grinding) habit only when a tooth breaks. Thus, it is important to know the symptoms of bruxism so that if you are grinding your teeth, your Des Moines IA dentist, Dr. Jessica Johnson, can provide you with a dental mouthpiece to protect your teeth. Some of the most common symptoms of bruxism are frequent sensitivities in teeth, and a sore jaw. It is also pretty common for the jaw to pop or click when it opens and closes when bruxism occurs frequently. In addition to these symptoms, bruxism may be identified visually, which is why it is important to attend regular dental visits to your Des Moines IA dentist, Dr. Johnson. Bruxism may leave teeth looking flattened or worn down, signs which Dr. Johnson can identify through visual inspection of your teeth.

Three Dangers of Bruxism

  1. Severe damage to teeth. As bruxism wears teeth down, the risk that teeth with suffer significant structural damage begins to increase. This damage may be a crack, a chip or even a full break. If bruxism results in this kind of damage, one or more dental crowns may be required to restore functionality to teeth, depending upon the scale of the damage.
  2. Accelerated tooth decay. One often-overlooked danger of bruxism is that it can increase the risk of tooth decay. It does this by removing enamel from teeth, leaving them with a less robust defense against decay-causing bacteria.
  3. A TMJ disorder. The jaw also comes under strain from bruxism, and when the jaw joints (TMJs) are stressed, a TMJ disorder can develop. TMJ disorders are very unpleasant with symptoms that include earaches, facial pain, a locked jaw, migraines, and frequent headaches.

Bruxism Treatment in Des Moines IA

If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth, Dr. Johnson can perform an inspection of your teeth. If you are diagnosed with bruxism, Dr. Johnson can create a custom-fit dental mouthpiece called a night guard for you to wear during sleep. The function of the night guard is to protect your teeth from damage. It can also begin to retrain your jaw muscles to stop bruxism altogether.

About Dr. Jessica Johnson: Jessica Johnson, DDS is a respected general and family dentist serving the Des Moines IA area. Patients can contact her at 515-223-9764 to schedule an appointment or a consultation.


MapValley Ridge Family Dental
6150 Village View Drive, #109,
West Des Moines, IA, 50266
Phone: 515.223.9764
After-hours emergency: 515.423.0445
Fax: 515.327.6230

Office Hours

Monday: 8 am-5 pm
Tuesday: closed
Wednesday: 8 am-5 pm
Thursday: 7:30 am- 1:30 pm
Friday: 7:30 am-4:30 pm