Bruxism is a sleep-related disorder where a person grinds or clenches their teeth unconsciously. It can happen when awake (awake bruxism) or during sleep (sleep bruxism). Since the condition happens unconsciously and mostly when asleep, you might not know you have it. If you often wake up with headaches or jaw pain, or perhaps your sleep partner has mentioned that you snore regularly, you might have bruxism.
Fortunately, mild bruxism isn’t a life-threatening concert and might not even require medical treatment. In most cases, a few lifestyle changes and therapies can provide relief. However, severe and regular bruxism can lead to severe jaw disorders, teeth damage, headaches, and other serious issues.
For this reason, visit a dentist near you or contact our dentist in 78148 if you suspect you might have bruxism. To minimize and prevent the effects of mild bruxism, the dentist will likely recommend wearing a nightguard when sleeping, among other things.
A nightguard, mouthguard, or dental guard is a dental device worn over the teeth to provide a protective barrier between the lower and the upper teeth. The guard prevents the upper teeth and lower teeth from grinding against each other, leading to potential dental damage.
Apart from causing dental damage, sleep bruxism can also lead to poor sleep quality, poor bite, morning headaches, gum recession, and jaw pain. Wearing a night guard can minimize or prevents these side effects of bruxism and help you maintain healthy teeth and enjoy a good night’s sleep.
You have three primary options: stock nightguards, boil-and-bite mouthguards, and customized dental guards.
Stock mouthguards are ready-made and finding a perfect fit might be difficult. They are likely to be uncomfortable and not provide enough protection. With boil-and-bite nightguards, you have to boil and bite on them to get a customized fit. Compared to stock mouthguards, boil-and-bite dental guards offer more protection and comfort.
Customized nightguards are made by your dentist using impressions of your teeth and mouth. They provide the best protection, comfort, and durability. Depending on the severity of your condition, your dentist can recommend the following types of nightguards – soft, hard, and dual laminated nightguards.
Soft Nightguards – The nightguard is made from soft plastic and provides excellent comfort and flexibility. Still, they fit over your mouth perfectly. Unfortunately, their soft nature can increase your urge to bite down on them or grind your teeth. This can worsen bruxism and lead to a short lifespan for the guard. For these reasons, soft nightguards are recommended for mild bruxism.
Hard Nightguards. These guards are made of harder plastics and are recommended for patients with extreme bruxism. While they are hard, they are still customized to feel comfortable in the mouth and still provide maximum protection.
Dual Laminated Nightguards. These nightguards combine the soft and hard worlds into one device. The inner part of the guard is made from a softer plastic, while the outer shell is made from harder acrylic. This ensures maximum comfort on the inside and durable protection on the outside.
Since stock and boil-and-bite mouthguards aren’t custom-designed, they can cause discomfort, feel bulky, and cause difficulties breathing or speaking. On the positive side, they are the least expensive.
Customized nightguards are made according to your mouth structure. This ensures a perfect fit and maximum protection and comfort. Unlike the generic nightguards, custom-made nightguards are unlikely to cause any discomfort or difficulty breathing. This means they are your best choice especially if you have average to severe bruxism.
It’s essential to wear a nightguard every night when sleeping, especially if you have average to severe bruxism. Not wearing your nightguard can result in teeth damage, low quality sleep, morning headaches, and jaw problems like temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Ask your dentist how often you should wear a nightguard and strictly follow their advice.
Apart from wearing your nightguard as instructed, remember to practice proper hygiene. This will protect your mouth from bacteria attacks that cause cavities and gum disease. Always make sure you rinse and brush your nightguards after every use. Also, always brush your teeth before and after wearing the nightguards. Lastly, always carry your nightguard during regular dental visits to have them inspected for wear and damage.
Are you interested in custom night guards in Universal City, TX? Contact Universal Dental to book your appointment.