Many Americans excessively grind and clench their teeth overnight. This is called Bruxism. Upon waking, those suffering from bruxism often experience dull headaches, jaw soreness, and face pain. If the grinding disrupts sleep, it’s also possible to wake up feeling fatigued. If this issue occurs every night, individuals may experience broken teeth, loss of tooth enamel, and tooth loss over time.
There is no exact cause for bruxism, but researchers believe high levels of stress and anxiety are contributing factors. Other potential contributing factors include alcohol consumption, cigarettes, caffeine, crooked teeth, abnormal bite, and sleep apnea.
An effective (yet temporary) solution for treating bruxism is sleeping with a night guard, also known as dental guard, mouth guard, bite splint, or nocturnal bite plate. Night guards put a barrier between the upper and lower teeth, which protects the enamel and prevents the teeth from cracking. Night guards also decrease the tension and provide cushion for the jaw muscles.
Yes, there are several types of night guards for people to choose from. The most commonly used night guard is the soft night guard. This night guard is not used for severe cases of bruxism. Soft night guards fit the mouth more comfortably than the other night guards. They are easy to adjust to and are the most affordable option. However, because the material is softer, people may accidentally clench or chew the soft material while sleeping. Unfortunately, soft night guards are not as durable as the other options and don’t have a long lifespan.
Another option is the dual laminate night guards, which are designed for moderately severe grinders. These night guards last longer than softer night guards because they’re hard on the outside and soft on the inside. Due to the thickness of these night guards, they may be difficult to adjust to.
Lastly, hard night guards are designed for people who suffer from severe grinding and temporomandibular joint syndrome. These night guards are more durable than the other two options as they prevent teeth from shifting. However, they are the least comfortable option because they are thicker than the others, which means they may be harder to adjust to. Only a dentist can administer these night guards because they require an impression to ensure they fit properly.
If you believe you or a loved one may be suffering from bruxism, it’s best to be evaluated by a dental professional to discuss treatment options.
At McBride Dental, we offer numerous services for our patients in order to help them keep their teeth in excellent condition. To prevent any oral issues from arising, we offer preventative care services, which include X-rays, thorough examins, and deep cleanings. For those who may be suffering from specific complications, we offer gum disease treatment, dental implants, and more. If you would like to schedule an appointment with us, call us today at (760) 471-1003.