Are you suffering from teeth grinding also known as bruxism? Have you been experiencing headaches in the morning recently because you’re giving your teeth a hard time every night? You may have been told that getting a mouth guard for your teeth grinding will do the trick and make it stop.
Yes, that might work, however, you’re still stuck with the question: Where should you get one, and are they generally a good idea for you? You might also be wondering how a mouth guard (or night guard) will really help you and which type should you get. Or, should you just get one and hope for the best? Nah.
WHAT COULD HAPPEN IF I DON’T GET ONE?
If you grind your teeth while you sleep, you’re wearing them down and without adequate protection, you can actually chip or crack your teeth or even destroy tooth enamel which cannot be replaced once it wears down. All in all, damaged teeth can be costly to fix, and let’s be honest, in most cases even uncomfortable.
This alone should be enough to grab a mouth guard but these aren’t the only things you’ll experience if you leave your bruxism untreated. The constant clenching and grinding can lead to headaches, sore jaw, and facial muscles. It can even lead to TMJ disorder, which causes chronic face, jaw, and neck pain,
Clenching and grinding in your sleep is unintentional so the most effective way to ensure protection to your teeth is to wear a night guard that separates teeth.
WHICH ONE SHOULD YOU GET?
- Over the counter mouth guards – You can purchase these at most pharmacies and they fully cover the top and/or bottom row of your teeth and come in many variations. Some of them are a boil and bite customization (meaning that it’s just a plastic u-shaped tray which you need to boil in water until the plastic becomes soft and palpable – after that, you place it in your mouth and bite down on it, so it molds to the shape of your teeth). Others have a cushioning that molds to teeth with each bite.
While both of these are economical, they can wear out quickly and will never be as comfortable or as effective as their fully custom counterparts.
- Custom made mouth guards – These are professionally fitted and crafted by your dentist and as such, they address your specific needs. These nigh guards are made using a mold of your teeth and sent to a lab that specializes in making guards. They can be created out of durable plastic and can be fitted to either the top or bottom row of your teeth depending on your needs. Custom guards are extremely durable and offer the best protection that is specially fitted for your unique needs.
- NTI mouth guards – The nociceptive trigeminal inhibition splint is a type of small mouth guard that only covers the front top and bottom teeth. The idea in mind with these is that the NTI is keeping the front teeth from meeting while the pressure is alleviated from the jaw so the rest of the teeth cannot reach each other. The biggest problem with these is that they don’t protect the entire row of teeth. Because they only hold the front teeth in place, prolonged use may result in teeth misalignment. If this happens, you may end up using braces to realign your teeth.
As you can see, you have a few options to choose from and all have their pros and cons. We, here at Doral Sedation & Family Dentistry would recommend getting a custom mouth guard if you suffer from teeth grinding since these night guards offer the best protection, and in the long run, it can save you an array of different dental problems.
Feel free to give us a call if you have any further questions or schedule an appointment with us if you’re sure you’d like the get a custom mouth guard. Don’t forget, your smile and dental health are worth it!