Mouthguards are a type of protection for the teeth whenever someone is involved in sports activities, or is at risk of having their teeth damaged from some type of accident or grinding their teeth, medically known as bruxism. Night guards are a special type of mouthguard that can be worn by patients at night to prevent damage to their teeth due to teeth grinding.
Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)
Bruxism, more commonly known as teeth grinding, affects roughly 35 million Americans. Although the cause is not always known, it can be due to anxiety and stress, as well as malocclusions, or a misaligned bite.
Left untreated, bruxism can cause your tooth enamel to wear away, as well as damage existing dental crowns and fillings. Teeth grinding can also cause problems like headaches and jaw muscle tension that can interfere with your everyday life.
Some common symptoms of bruxism are:
Pain in the jaw
Jaw swelling, particularly on the side of the lower jaw
Broken dental appliances
Clicking or grinding sounds while sleeping
Experiencing pain or discomfort when your mouth is open
Many patients have been helped greatly with teeth grinding by wearing a night guard. This is a type of mouthguard worn to protect your enamel from pressures caused by biting down on teeth. Wearing a night guard tends to involve an adjustment period, but within a few days it should start to feel normal to you.
Since night guards provided by your dentist are custom-fit to the unique contours of your teeth, mouth, and gums, they should be quite comfortable to wear.
Over-The-Counter Night Guards
This is a one-size-fits-all type of night guard that can be purchased in your local area. They are relatively inexpensive and pre-formed, but they are mainly intended for athletics. Since they are not custom-made, they tend to be bulky and somewhat uncomfortable. You must constantly bite down to keep them in your mouth.
Boil-And-Bite Night Guards
These can be purchased over-the-counter and are made from a thermoplastic material that can be softened with hot water. After that, you place the mouthguard into your mouth, and bite down on it. You can then set it using cold water.
Although this type of mouthguard is preferable to some other types, it still does not provide a great deal of protection. And it tends to be thinner in certain areas, reducing the protection that it provides.
Customized Night Guards
This type is created by your dentist through the use of impressions made from your teeth, allowing your night guard to perfectly fit within your mouth and provide protection from teeth grinding. For those using a night guard to prevent snoring and sleep apnea, a custom night guard is essential in ensuring that their jaw shifts forward while they are sleeping without damaging their teeth.
If you are concerned that you may be grinding your teeth at night, please contact us to schedule an appointment or consultation to be fitted for a custom night guard to protect your teeth.