Teeth grinding or bruxism is a dental condition that may lead to other oral health issues if left unattended. We may not know how much we grind our teeth, unless we have someone telling us about it, or when we get to observe some of its symptoms like worn down or chipped teeth, some swollen gums or waking up with a dull constant headache or jaw pains.
The exact cause of teeth grinding is unknown, but some experts suspect that teeth grinding can be caused by some oral conditions like an abnormal bite, or a missing tooth. It is also believed to be caused by emotional strain like stress and anxiety, fatigue, and back pains. Occasional teeth grinding may not be alarming, but it is recommended to use some protective measures before it damages your teeth. In this instance, we suggest the use of a mouth guard.
What is a mouth guard? A mouth guard is a device that is worn in the mouth during sleep as a barrier to prevent the upper and lower teeth from actual contact and grind. It acts to even out the pressure across the jaw while sleeping and reduces the noise you make when teeth grinding occurs. A mouth guard can also help reduce snoring and help relieve sleep apnea.
There are 3 types of mouth guards, as follow:
1. Stock Mouth Guard
They are ready to use mouth guards that you can easily buy online. They usually come in pre-determined sizes, small, medium and large but you may find it uncomfortable to use in case it does not fit tightly into your mouth shape and may just result in a disturbed sleep. This type can also make breathing difficult if it does not fit properly.
2. Boil and Bite Mouth Guard
This type is also commonly sold online and comes in one size only. This mouth guard is made up of thermoplastic material. To use, you must place it in hot water to soften, then customize the shape around your teeth using your finger and tongue pressure. This type offers a better fit than the stock mouth guard, it can become brittle with frequent use over time so you may need replacing more regularly. This is the type we explain in the video, so remember not to melt the mouth guard!
3. Custom-made Mouth Guard
This is made by a dentist, it is fitted and shaped according to the exact structure of your mouth and teeth. This is more expensive than the first two types, but it offers the best protection. As it is made to your specific requirements, it should be more comfortable to use. This is the most recommended type if you’re suffering from sleep apnea.
Here are some tips to help you adjust to using a mouth guard:
- Choose the thinnest possible mouth guard suitable for you.
- Put it in right before you go to sleep. Don’t try to wear it before you’re ready to go to bed, as your brain may pick up on any unpleasantness making it harder to drift off into a peaceful sleep.
- Stick to using your mouth guard for at least 4-6 weeks religiously wearing it. After this amount of time, it should feel like a normal part of your nightly routine and will seem a lot easier to wear.
If you suspect to be grinding your teeth during sleep, it is best to consult your dentist first for advice.
If you want to give them a try, click here to see some options