People usually grind their teeth during the night while sleeping. High levels of anxiety or stress can exacerbate the unconscious habit. Frequent, long-term teeth grinding and clenching will wear down on the enamel of the teeth and can cause oral and other possible health problems. Symptoms can include aching in the jaw muscles and joint (TMJ), headaches, gum recession, as well as fracturing or premature loss of teeth.
To treat teeth grinding and clenching, a dental night guard can be custom fabricated. These mouth guards are worn while asleep, and prevent the forces generated during night teeth grinding from doing damage to your teeth.
1. The over the counter, drugstore mouth guards that come ready-to-wear: these mouth guards are inexpensive; however, they are lumpish, uncomfortable to wear to sleep, and even make breathing difficult. In addition, they often strengthen the muscles that cause teeth grinding. Our dentists don’t recommend these for their patients.
2. Boil and bite mouth guards can be purchased in many drugstores and supply a better fit. The mouth guard is placed in hot water to soften and then placed in the mouth. It’s molded round the mouth using finger and tongue pressure. While these are preferable over the out-of-the-box night guards, they also are quite difficult to wear and allow the muscles to clench into it and get stronger.
3. Custom-fitted dental night guards are the best mouth guards for teeth grinding: they are individually made-to-fit at a professional dental lab using an impression of the patient’s teeth. Most dentists will suggest this treatment for their patients. These night guards offer the most comfort and protect the best against tooth wear and muscle strain.