What’s a Dental Night Guard?
So, are you facing teeth grinding issue during the day or while in sleep? Even if you not, having information about the teeth grinding disorder is always helpful. The medical term for teeth grinding disorder is Bruxism.
In teeth grinding, you either clench, gnash or grind your teeth very often unconsciously. This happens, particularly at night. Why Bruxism is bad for oral health? Well, because our teeth just are not built to withstand this constant force and abrasion. Continuous and extensive grinding our teeth caused various oral health issue, sometimes serious jaw pain.
According to the American Dental Association, about 10 to 15 percent of adults are suffering from the Bruxism; I believe this number is under-reported because most of us really do not know about it even if we have this problem.
How can you identify whether you have Bruxism or Not?
Well, most of the time, Bruxism gets unnoticed as there are no separate or clear symptoms related to the teeth. Awake bruxism starts in the morning and lasts until you sleep, so you can notice the teeth grinding habit. However, your family member can only notice Sleep bruxism, when they see you are grinding your teeth. When you grind your teeth, sometimes it makes noise that can be noticed by your partner easily.
If you are grinding your teeth frequently, you may wake with a sore jaw, a dull headache or tooth pain. These symptoms are very common but not necessarily, it is visible in call cases.
However, you may be experiencing bruxism if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Teeth grinding sound at night
- Tight and painful Jaw muscles
- Long-lasting pain in the face, cheek
- Swelling on the side of your lower jaw caused by clenching
- Flattened, fractured, chipped or damaged teeth.
- Increased tooth sensitivity, tooth pain and loosen teeth
- A headache and earache without having a problem with your ear. Jaw muscles movement triggers other related muscles and thus the pain.
- Sleep abnormality like snoring, sleep talking and other disorder link sleep apnea.
- Disorders that occur in the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), located just in front of your ears, which may sound like clicking when you open and close your mouth
My article on five tips for Bruxism treatment highlights the key measure one can take if he or she observes the Bruxism related symptoms. In any scenario, you may want to ask a qualified dental professional if you are suffering from a condition called bruxism.
Coming to the Dental Mouth Guard.
When you visit your dentist for the Bruxism treatment, the chances are very high that, the doctor will prescribe a dental mouth guard, especially for the sleep bruxism. Practically, there is no complete treatment to stop the Bruxism but a night guard helps to addresses the symptoms of grinding and prevents its consequences. It is important to note that the night guard cannot treat the underlying causes of teeth grinding.
What exactly is a dental mouthguard?
A dental mouth guard (also called dental night guard) is an appliance typically worn while sleeping through the night. Nightguard for teeth grinding is available without a prescription at most pharmacies.
To use a dental night guard, you need to simply boil it and let it cool for a few seconds, and then gently bite into it to shape it to your teeth.
Your dentist may also recommend and provide custom night guards or mouth guards. These custom night guards tend to be of a higher quality and superior fit because they are made in a special laboratory from an impression of your mouth carefully taken by a dental professional. As this kind of mouthguards is designed specifically for you, therefore the price of such mouth guards are expensive device than the other purchased one but can be more comfortable to wear.
The main function of the night guard or dental mouth guard is to prevent the surfaces of your teeth from grinding together, causing you to chip and crack your teeth and strain your jaw muscles.
Why do I need a Night Guard?
Bruxism can cause serious damage to your teeth and your jaws. Tooth grinding typically occurs at night when patients have no way of knowing they even do it. Extensive Chronic bruxism can lead to several problems with teeth and even the jaw as highlighted in All You Need To Know About Bruxism | Detailed Information.
Bruxism is the unconscious activity, and if left untreated, bruxism can cause broken, chipped, or cracked teeth, headaches, and TMJ/TMD. Bruxism can be treated and should be done so early to avoid future problems. Dental night guards are often suggested by the dentist as a solution to stop the teeth grinding for patients who have a history of grinding their teeth while they are asleep.
Early diagnosis of bruxism is advantageous can prevent damage that may be incurred and the detrimental effect on the quality of life.
Types of Dental Night Guard
Generally, mouth guards cover your upper teeth only, but in some instances, your dentist will make a mouth guard for the lower teeth as well. An effective mouthguard should be comfortable, resist tears, be durable and easy to clean, and should not restrict your breathing or speech.
There are mainly three types of night guards:
1. Stock mouth guard:
These night guards are come ready to wear condition however, little adjustment can be made to adjust their fit. It can be bought at any pharmacy, sporting goods stores, and department stores. They are inexpensive but they are bulky and makes breathing and talking difficult. Though it provides little or no protection, Dentists do not recommend using this type of mouthguard.
2. Boil and bite mouthguard
The “boil and bite” mouthguard is made from thermoplastic material. It is placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure. It is also available at many drug stores, sporting goods stores. It is the best option for someone looking for at low price yet effective and better fit.
3. Custom made mouthguard
This type of night guard is individually designed and made by a dentist or a professional laboratory with your dentist’s instructions. Custom Night Guard made by taking patient’s teeth impression and a mouth guard is then it is molded over the model using a special material. Your dentist will also consider the alignment of your jaw during the fitting process to ensure your night guard will not place unnecessary stress on the joint that could lead to other problems.
This is very costly as compared to the regular night guard found in common drugstores because of the use of special material and extra work involved. However, it is costly but it provides the needed comfort, protection and durability in the long run.
Custom made nightguards are costly but there are some best quality custom made nighguards available on Amazon.
It is always suggested visiting your dentist to know the best and suitable mouth guard for you. As a name suggest, mouth guard (Night Guard) can only prevent you from doing teeth grinding until you wear them and it is not the permanent solution to the Bruxism. There are other recommended treatments methods available like stress reduction, limiting the caffeine intake or medication with stimulants. I have highlighted in article – 5 Useful Tips for Bruxism (Teeth Grinding) Treatment | Explained
Bruxism is a complex disorder. If you have sleep apnea or if you grind your teeth for other reasons, give yourself time to get used to new treatments and give them a chance before giving up.
I hope you found this article useful. Do let me know your experience and feedback in the comment section. I would be happy to read them.