Teeth grinding, or to give it its correct technical term, bruxism, is quite common in children and adults and often occurs at night when people are completely unaware that they are doing it. Unfortunately it can do a lot of damage to teeth, and your dentist will definitely be able to tell if you suffer from bruxism as they will notice that your teeth will have worn down. You may also have noticed additional symptoms which might include:
- Increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks which occurs as your teeth wear down, exposing sensitive dentin
- Having a sore jaw in the morning when you wake up
- Waking up with a dull headache
- Your partner may even complain that they can hear you grinding your teeth in your sleep
It’s very important to get this problem sorted out, not only for the sake of your teeth but also for overall health. This condition is frequently stress-related and may require a combination of treatments to resolve. In the meantime the best way to protect your teeth is through the use of night guards for teeth grinding.
What are night guards?
Night guards are made from acrylic and are very similar to sports mouth guards, although a lot less bulky. It’s best to choose a custom made night guard which fits exactly over your teeth and offers maximum protection from bruxism.
Custom made night guards
They are created by your dentist taking an impression of your teeth which is then cast up into a plaster of Paris model, exactly replicating your mouth. An acrylic night guard can then be constructed over this model ensuring a precision fit. Your dentist may have the equipment to do this work themselves or they may send it to their dental laboratory. Either way the process is quick and should only take one or two visits.
It will be adjusted chair side to ensure it is comfortable enough to be worn overnight and should feel relatively unobtrusive. You will need to thoroughly rinse your night guard each morning after use, and it’s important to bring it with you to each subsequent dental checkup to ensure it is still fitting correctly and is fit for purpose.
Over the counter night guards
If you don’t want to go to your dentist for a custom-made night guard for teeth grinding then there are lots of night guards available at drugstores or online. Try to choose the best quality you can which should be made out of strong yet soft acrylic, although it’s also possible to buy some made from rubber. The best type to look for is one that can be adapted to fit your own mouth which usually involves putting it in hot water and then molding it around your teeth and bite.
These night guards for teeth grinding will offer some protection, but they are not as good as the custom made night guards, and while the cost of going to your dental office may be more, the protection offered could save you money and protect your teeth making it the cheaper option in the long run.