Even though we have come a long way with dental restoration technologies, nothing compares to your preserving natural smile. At Smith and Van Lierop Dentistry, we encourage our patients to take preventative measures to protect their teeth. This is why we recommend wearing mouthguards to protect your teeth if you grind them at night.
Mouthguards are plastic appliances used to protect your teeth from harmful grinding forces.
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is a condition in which you gnash, clench or grind your teeth. Most cases of bruxism occurred during sleep.
Mild bruxism may not require treatment. However, in some people, bruxism is frequent and severe enough to lead to jaw disorders, headaches, damaged teeth and other problems.
You may have sleep bruxism and be unaware of it until complications develop. This is why it is important to know the signs and symptoms of bruxism and to seek regular dental care.
The symptoms of bruxism
- Waking up with a headache
- Jaw or facial pain
- Sensitive teeth
- Chipped teeth
Mouthguard for bruxism
If you grind your teeth while asleep, it may help to wear a mouthguard or mouth splint at night.
Mouthguards and splints even out the pressure across your jaw and create a physical barrier between your upper and lower teeth. This protects them from further damage. They may also reduce any grinding noises you make at night.
Types of Mouthguards
Over the counter Mouthguard
This is the cheapest type of mouthguard, but not necessarily the best option. Although they may be convenient, these mouthguards are often uncomfortable and bulky. Since these mouthguards are not very sturdy, they are not ideal for night grinding. They can also throw off the alignment of your teeth, which may actually worsen bruxism and cause more pain.
Custom-fit mouthguards tend to be much thinner than their over the counter mouthguards. Although you may be tempted to settle for the thickest guard, assuming that it would provide the most amount of cushioning, a thicker mouthguard can actually do more harm than good.
The benefit of a custom-made mouthguard is that it will be more comfortable as it forms to the exact bite of the patient. In some cases, this type of mouthguard can even improve tooth alignment, something that a bulky mouthguard might actually disturb.
Stress relief for bruxism
While mouthguards are designed to protect your teeth, they will not actually prevent the grinding or clenching itself. Grinding is usually caused by an underlying condition, generally, stress. In addition to wearing a mouthguard, it is important to seek out stress-relieving techniques for better sleep.
Contact Smith and Van Lierop Dentistry today for your custom-made mouthguard. We will also advise you on how often you need to replace your mouthguard. Generally, a mouthguard can last for many years, depending on your stress levels.