Teeth grinding and clenching, also known as Bruxism, is pretty common and can be painful and destructive to teeth. Luckily, there are plenty of night guards for Bruxism on the market that can help anyone who clenches and grinds their teeth while sleeping.
Bruxism is fairly common and some may not even be aware of their own grinding. Some Bruxism symptoms you may suffer from are:
Occasional teeth grinding may not cause any real concerns, but long-term, consistent Bruxism can lead to 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.
Most cases of Bruxism can easily be treated by wearing a night guard while you sleep. Night guards are also known as dental guards, mouth guards, nocturnal bite plates, or bite splints. They work by putting a barrier between your teeth. When you clench your jaw, the night guard helps to lighten the tension and give cushion to the muscles in the jaw. This cushioning not only helps to prevent face and jaw pain, but also protects the enamel of your teeth. They look very similar to snoring remedies.
Night guards for Bruxism can be purchased over-the-counter without a prescription, as well as straight from the dentist or cost effectively from a specialized online retailer. There are a few different ways they can be fitted, and the type that will work best for you depends on your individual needs.
This is the most commonly used type of night guard for Bruxism and used mostly for mild or occasional cases, not for severe teeth grinders.
This type of night guard for Bruxism is for moderately severe teeth grinders. They are soft on the inside and hard on the outside.
Hard night guards for Bruxism are made from acrylic and are extremely rigid but durable. They can be used for very severe cases of grinding, as well as TMJ.
Personalizing the fit of your night guard will depend on what brand you choose. Many of them use the same process that is used by snoring mouthpieces. Here are the different night guard fits for Bruxism:
If you suspect you may suffer from Bruxism, don’t worry. It can easily be treated with night guards. However, it’s always good to see a doctor to see if you can discover the root cause and fix that before seeking other treatment. In some cases, sleep apnea can be a cause.
Just before we reach deep sleep, the muscles in our bodies relax. This includes the muscles in the airway, neck, and tongue. When this happens, excess tissue in the neck and airway, along with the tongue, can block airflow when we breathe, causing pauses in breathing. This is known as sleep apnea.
In some cases, the brain tells our jaw to tighten, clench, and grind in order to hold the airway open so we can breathe.
This keeps air flowing, but prevents us from entering deep sleep. The result can be compromised mental and physical health. Click here to take a free, 1 minute online assessment to gauge your risk factor of having sleep apnea.
If sleep apnea is ruled out, a night guard for Bruxism may be what you need to give your jaw some relief. If a night guard isn't helping or you want to explore different methods, learn about other ways to stop grinding your teeth at night.
© 2021 American Sleep Association.