Bruxism is the name for grinding and clenching your teeth. Bruxism can cause teeth to wear, shift, loosen, and fracture if done chronically and it may also aggravate TMJ disorder and cause headaches. Of course, bruxism is easy to stop in the day time, but what if it happens while you sleep at night? The solution to this problem is simple, wear a night guard.
How A Night Guard Protects Teeth
Night guards are very similar to athletic mouthguards in protecting your teeth. A night guard not only cushions the mouth against clenching, but it has a smooth surface which teeth slide against that prevents grinding damage. Some night guards can even hold the mouth in a way that causes the jaw muscles to relax. If you suffer from nightly bruxism, then night guards are the best solution.
What Kind Of Night Guard Should I Get
There are three main types of night guards, each with different benefits and detriments. These night guards types include:
- Stock: These inexpensive guards can be picked up at your local drug store. However, the disadvantage to using these guards is that they come one-size-fits-all. Not only is this generic fit uncomfortable to wear, but it isn’t as effective at preventing bruxism.
- Boil And Bite: These guards are about the same price as a stock guard, but you actually have some control over a boil and bite’s fit. Like its name suggest, you boil the material, bite down on it, and let it cool to the shape of your mouth.
- Custom-Fitted: Though more expensive than other night guard types, a custom-fitted guard is more comfortable and does a better job at protecting your teeth. Your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and send it to a dental lab for the guard creation. These guards are often made from acrylic and can last for several years.