Mouth guards are specialized rubber-like devices that typically fit over the upper teeth and help prevent injury to the teeth, lips, cheeks, and tongue. When used during sports, mouth guards can help prevent tooth loss and may reduce the risk and severity of jaw fractures and concussions.
Mouth guards are strongly recommended for all those participating in any sports where there may be a risk of injury to the jaw, teeth, or head. Mouth guards are especially important for those who wear braces. Trauma to the face can cause damage to fixed orthodontic appliances and brackets. Mouth guards also provide a barrier between these devices and the soft tissues of the mouth, lessening the risk of trauma and injury.
Types of Mouth Guards
There are three basic types of mouth guards that all provide protection with varying levels of cost and comfort. An ideal mouth guard is tear-resistant, comfortable, easy to clean, and does not inhibit breathing.
- Stock Mouth Guards: Stock mouth guards are inexpensive, standard sized guards that can be purchased at most sporting good stores. They come pre-formed and ready to wear, however some may find them slightly bulky and they may interfere with speech.
- Boil and Bite Mouth Guards: Boil and bite mouth guards are designed to be immersed in hot water and then shaped to the form of the teeth using the fingers or biting pressure. This type of mouth guard tends to be more comfortable than a stock mouth guard and provides a better fit when made properly. This type of guard can also be purchased over the counter at most sporting good stores.
- Custom Made Mouth Guards: Custom made mouth guards can be obtained from a dentist’s office. They are made in a dental office or at a dental laboratory from an impression of the teeth. This type of mouth guard is designed to specifically fit the user’s teeth.
Facts about Mouth Guards:
- More than 5 million teeth are lost each year due to accidental injury.
- Mouth guard use prevents 200,000 oral-facial injuries per year.
- An athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer a dental injury while not wearing a mouth guard
Night Guards and Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding or clenching, also known as bruxism, is pretty common and can be painful and destructive to teeth. Luckily, there are options on the market for night guards to anyone that clenches and grinds while they should be sleeping.
Bruxism is fairly common and some may not even be aware of their own grinding. Some signs you may be a teeth-grinder are waking up with dull headaches, jaw soreness, face pain, and fatigue since it can disrupt sleep. In some cases, it’s the bedroom partner who hears the grinding.
Occasional bruxism may not cause any real concerns, but when it’s done regularly over time, it can cause broken teeth, loss of tooth enamel, and in severe cases, loss of teeth.
The exact cause is unknown, but it’s believed that stress and anxiety play the biggest role. Other causes may also be alcohol use, cigarettes, caffeine, sleep apnea, snoring, an abnormal bite, and crooked teeth.
At the dental office of Rachna Pall DDS, we can help you diagnose any facial pain and recommend you a suitable remedy.
Based on diagnosis, one or more treatments may be recommended. You may be suggested a nightguard that can be worn while sleeping. Custom-made soft material to fit your teeth, the nightguard slips over the teeth in one jaw and prevents contact with the opposing teeth. The nightguard relieves some of the pressure of grinding and clenching.
If stress seems to be a major cause of bruxism, it may be helpful to find ways to relax, such as
listening to music, reading a book, taking a walk or enjoying a warm bath. Applying a warm, wet washcloth to the side of the face may help relax muscles that have become sore from clenching. If you have difficulty handling stress, counseling may point to effective ways of dealing with stressful situations.
FAQ’sQUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Using a Dental Night Guard for TMJ Treatment
Custom-fitted night guards are the best option because they will help to treat your TMJ disorder without affecting your breathing while you sleep. Acrylic night guards are usually thin and are molded to either the top or bottom row of teeth.
Ways to Prevent Grinding Your Teeth
● Wear a Night Guard
● Take a Warm Bath Before Bed
● Relax by reading a book, listening to music, whatever you find calming
● Acupressure techniques to help calm your nerves
● Give Yourself a Massage
● Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine