Night Guards / Mouth Guards

Night Guards

Do you frequently wake up with a jaw pain, headaches or tooth pain?  If so you may want to be checked for a condition called bruxism.  Bruxism is grinding or clenching of the teeth.  According to the American Dental Association, bruxism affects about 30 to 40 million adults and children in the USA.

What are other signs and symptoms of bruxism?

  • Rhythmic contractions of the jaw muscles
  • A grinding sound at night
  • Jaw muscles that are tight or painful
  • Long-lasting pain in the face
  • Swelling (occasionally) on the side of your lower jaw caused by clenching
  • Excessive tooth wear including flattening of the teeth and notching of the teeth at the gum line
  • Failure of dental restorations, tooth fractures and cracks
  • Sensitivity to cold because of dentin and enamel thinning
  • Inflammation of the periodontal ligament causing pain and soreness
  • Tmj problems, facial and muscle pain, headaches

What is bruxism caused by?

Stress and anxiety, sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, missing or crooked teeth. Sometimes the cause of bruxism can be unknown.

There are several ways to alleviate bruxism. If you are a candidate and an underlying medical condition is not causing your bruxism, our office may recommend, a night guard. This is an appliance typically worn while sleeping through the night.

Night guards are made by taking an impression of your mouth.  Your impression is used to craft a custom fitting guard that will fit comfortably over your teeth.  Its main function is to prevent the surfaces of your teeth from grinding together and causing damage to teeth or dental restorations.   Although a night guard will not eliminate all grinding and clenching it will protect your teeth while you sleep.

In cases of an underlying sleep disorder, stress or anxiety issues other therapies may be suggested.  If a sleep disorder is suspected a sleep study may be suggested.  If stress or anxiety is the culprit, a mouth guard can be used temporarily until the stress and anxiety can be controlled or reduced.

Evaluating and treating bruxism is not difficult, but the damage to your teeth can have life long effects.  Repairing teeth can be very expensive which is why we urge you to have your bruxism evaluated.  Minimizing bruxism and its symptoms is just a phone call away!

Mouthguards

Mouth guards are coverings worn over teeth. They are used to protect teeth during sports.  Anyone playing a sport for fun or competitively should protect their teeth with a mouthguard.

Generally speaking, there are two types of mouthguards.

Retail mouth guards and custom made mouth guards.  Retail mouthguards are the guards you can buy from the sporting good stores or department stores.   Some retail mouthguards you just place in your mouth and others you boil and fit to your mouth.  Regardless of which one we are talking about, they are bulky, awkward and ill fitting.  Most importantly, they offer little protection for your precious teeth.

Custom-fitted mouth guards are individually designed and made in our dental office with the assistance of a professional laboratory.  It is a very simple process—an impression is made of your teeth.  From that impression a mouth guard is made.  Mouth guards offer the most protection for your teeth and the best comfort while playing sports.  Custom made mouth guards will cost a bit more than a retail mouth guard but remember you only have one set of permanent teeth to last your entire life teeth!

In most cases, mouth guards cover your upper teeth only.  (In rare cases, such as if you wear braces, your dentist will make a mouth guard for the lower teeth as well.) An effective mouth guard should be comfortable, resist tears, be durable and easy to clean, and should not restrict your breathing or speech. We can suggest the best mouth guard for you.

Who Needs a Mouth Guard?

Mouth guards should be used by anyone — children and adults — who play contact sports such as football, boxing, soccer, ice hockey, basketball, lacrosse, and field hockey. However, even those participating in noncontact sports (for example, gymnastics) and any recreational activity (for example, skateboarding, mountain biking) that might pose a risk of injury to the mouth would benefit from wearing a protective mouth guard.

Why Use a Mouth Guard When Playing Sports?

Accidents can happen during any physical activity, the advantage of using a mouth guard during sports is that it can help limit the risk of mouth-related injuries to your lips, tongue, and soft tissues of your mouth. Mouth guards also help you avoid chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth, or even tooth loss.

Can I Wear a Mouth Guard if I Wear Braces?

Yes. Since an injury to the face could damage braces or other fixed appliances, a properly fitted mouth guard may be particularly important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. We can determine the mouth guard that will provide the best protection for your unique mouth work.