Bruxism affects 30 to 40 million Americans. Usually known as teeth grinding or clenching, the oral parafunctional activity is caused by a combination of genetic, physical, and psychological factors such as stress, a side effect of medications, or aberrant alignment of the teeth.
The condition may be mild with no treatment needed. However, when teeth grinding or clenching becomes frequent and severe, it can lead to headaches, jaw disorders like temporomandibular joint disorder, damaged tooth, worn out enamel, gum recession, bone loss, and tooth sensitivity.
Bruxism And Night Guard
To help patients deal with bruxism, dentists recommend wearing a night guard which is a protective mouth device worn during sleep. Over-the-counter mouth guards can be bought without prescriptions and be ready for use after boiling it and shaping it to your teeth.
On the one hand, a custom-made mouth guards can be availed through your dentist. To create this night guard, your dental impression will be taken by your dentist which will then be sent to a laboratory.
Custom-made ones are expected to fit the user perfectly as it is individually created and designed. However, they are also more expensive due to additional labor, time, and special material used in their production.
How Can A Night Guard Helps Ease Bruxism?
With the help of a night guard, further wear of the enamel and damage to the teeth are prevented. It also relaxes the jaw joint and the head, face, and neck muscles, relieving the patient from the excess strain, pressure, and discomfort from teeth grinding or clenching.
Initially, the mouth guard may be difficult to remove from the mouth because of its close fit. It may also feel tight and cause a bit of sensitivity at first. But, after some time and with frequent use, the tight feeling caused by the night guard will begin to ease.
How Can You Take Care Of Your Night Guard?
- Wear the night guard every night for most effective results. It will also help your teeth and mouth to get used to it.
- Remember to give it a good clean before wearing it the next morning. Use a soft toothbrush and cold soapy water. Do not rinse the night guard in warm or hot water as the high temperature can distort the device.
Keep the night guard in its container when not used to avoid foreign entities from infecting it. If something began to develop on the night guard, soak it in 25:75 dilution of white vinegar to water in the morning. By night, brush it thoroughly.
If using a night guard does not seat well for you, try other dental approaches, therapies, and medications upon the recommendation of your dentist.