Anyone who suffers from teeth grinding may have been recommended to get a bite guard by their dentist, and there are several types to consider. Bite guards generally cover the upper teeth only, but your dentist may suggest making a bite guard for lower teeth if you have braces or other dental appliances. It’s essential that a bite guard is comfortable to wear and easy to insert, and you should be able to speak and breathe normally. Bite guards are thinner than sports mouth guards and are much more comfortable to wear. They should be cleaned after each wearing and checked regularly to make sure they don’t show any signs of wear and tear.
- Custom made bite guards: these are an excellent type of bite guard to get and are custom-made to exactly fit over your teeth and provide a great level of comfort and protection. The process is very straightforward and simply involves the dentist taking an impression of your teeth which is then used to make a precision fit appliance out of a special durable and soft acrylic material. It is generally completed within two visits to the dental office, the first of which will involve taking the impression while the second will be for the fitting of the bite guard. These types of bite guards are more expensive than over-the-counter guards, but are well worth the extra money for the increased level of protection that they offer.
- Boil and bite guards: these are bite guards as they are softened up in hot water before being placed in the mouth and adapted to fit round the teeth using your fingers and tongue. It’s best to pay a bit more for the best quality you can find.
- Bite guards with bite pads: these are bite guards that can be bought over the counter and have which bite pads that go over the back teeth which ensure that the front teeth cannot meet. The bite pads are connected by a band which is self-adjusting. These are very easy to fit and are quite effective. The band that fits around the front teeth can be adapted in warm water. The idea of these bite guards is to try and train the brain to relax the muscles so that when the lips are closed a natural space between the teeth is maintained.
- NTI-tss device: the NTI-tss (tension suppression system) is a very small appliance that fits over the front teeth so that contact is maintained by the incisors but the rest of the teeth cannot meet. It works by interrupting the action of the muscles in the jaw which reduces the intensity of the clenching and grinding action. It puts the muscles into a stable position so that they are able to relax. People using this device have found that it can help eliminate bruxism symptoms such as headaches within just a few days. It is constructed chair side in your dental office and is very easy and unobtrusive to wear.
Regardless of which bite guard chosen to treat teeth grinding it important to get this condition properly assessed, and to treat not only the symptoms but the underlying cause.