Teeth grinding, clenching or bruxism is fairly common sleeping disorder and many people are not even aware that they do it. Some of them learn about it from their sleeping partner who is sick and tired of the infernal noise, or from their dentist, who has to repair the damage to the teeth caused by bruxism.
The moment you learn that you grind your teeth, get a dental night mouth guard. Don’t wait. Without a night mouth guard, you will continue to damage your teeth, you will keep waking up with sore jaws and debilitating headaches.
Well-fitting night mouth guard will prevent further damage and make you life a bit easier, until you can find why are you grinding your teeth. Once you find the cause, you can treat it and eliminate the problem for good.
Can night mouth guard cure my teeth grinding?
The underlying reasons for teeth grinding may take a substantial time to determine. Your dentist might find out that one missing teeth is causing your teeth to be misaligned, and once that problem is fixed, you will stop grinding your teeth. But, it isn’t always easy.
Most cases of bruxing are caused by chronic stress. Eliminating stress is by far more difficult than fixing a misaligned jaws. In the meantime, you need a night mouth guard to prevent further damage.
Don’t expect night mouth guard to cure bruxism. Its job is to prevent your jaws from meeting while you are asleep and allowing your teeth to grind together. Some people in fact clench their jaws even more when they have a night mouth guard on.
Guards job is to protect your teeth until you can figure out and eliminate, the cause of your teeth grinding. Of course, many manufacturers of night mouth guards claim that their product will solve all your problems and rid you of your bruxism. Their goal is to makemoney, you can understand them.
How do night mouth guards guard your teeth?
There is a range of different kinds of dental night mouth guards. Some of the guards have buffering pads, which separate upper from the lower teeth, preventing the grindingdamage.
There is a kind of guards which absorb the huge pressure from clenching jaws, which are capable of damaging both your teeth and your jaws and which can trigger a bad tension headache. When teeth are unable to touch, the muscles which control the two jaws relax and consequently stop exerting the pressure.
Dental night mouth guards vs. sports night mouth guards
You may think that the night mouth guard you use when playing sports can do the double job of protecting your teeth from grinding. This is frequent mistake. They might look similar, and some are even designed to do the double job.
But, most night mouth guards are designed significantly different, depending on their task. Sports guardsfunction as a shock absorber, as well as protecting you from injuries to the head and concussion.
They work by distributing the forces of blow to the face. Dental guards provide a protective cushion between the two jaws and protect both jaw and teeth from the enormous pressure caused by bruxing. The protection is provided betweenupper and lower jaws, not to prevent frontal blow, as needed for contact sports.
Different Types of Dental Mouth Guards
There are many different kinds of dental night mouth guards on the market and the new ones are cropping up every day. With so many people under stress and grinding their teeth, the industry is booming. The night mouth guards can be divided into two broad groups: “one-size-fits-all” and custom made guards.
One size fits all guards are easily available in all drugstores and can be fount even in well-stocked corner stores and gas stations. They are affordable, but differ significantly in their quality and design.
Guards that are made of thermoplastic (‘boil and bite’) are usually more comfortable and can be made to fit fairly well. The material they are made of becomes soft and pliable and, if inserted into the mouth while still warm molds to your teeth perfectly.
Some guards are made of thermoplastic that becomes pliable at body temperature, and it adjusts to the each person’s teeth once inserted in the mouth. This type cannot be made to be as comfortable as the ‘boil and bite’ type.
Commercial cheap night mouth guards are often necessary until your custom guard is made, but are seldom sufficiently comfortable for prolonged use. If you cannot afford a custom guard, you might try experimenting for a while until you manage to find the off the counter guard that fits you best.
Custom night mouth guards are made to fit each individual according to the mold of their teeth. They are usually made by your dentist, but can be now made by custom dental labs for much smaller fee. There are many different types of custom dental guards – thin or thick, made for upper or lower jaw etc. People who grind their teeth very forcefully need to let the dentist, or the custom lab, know about it, so that the guard is made of stronger, more lasting material.
The NTI TSS (Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition Tension Suppression System) is a special type of teeth guard, originally designed to prevent headache and tension migraine triggered by teeth clenching and grinding. It is worn over the two front teeth, to prevent contact of the canines and molars.
Its job is to relax the muscles involved in clenching and teeth grinding. This device is considered by some as a biofeedback device. When fitted over two front teeth, every attempt to clench teeth results in an uncomfortable feeling, triggering the nerve reflux and relaxing of the jaws.
Keep your night mouth guard clean
One vital part of wearing the dental night mouth guard is its hygiene. The general rule of thumb for keeping night mouth guards clean and free of bacteria is to rinse them with cool water and brush them with tooth brush and tooth paste as soon as they are taken out of the mouth in the morning.
Once a week they should be soaked for a few hours in a mix of water and a night mouth guard cleaner such as Ortho Clean or a denture cleaner such as Efferdent. Keep your night mouth guard in its own ventilated box, away from any heat source. Heat might make it lose its shape.
To learn more about teeth grinding causes and remedies read here.