Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with a dull headache or a sore jaw? This could be because you grind your teeth. Teeth grinding is called bruxism. It is usually done unconsciously in your sleep, but it can also occur when you are awake. Many patients are unaware of grinding or clenching until it is brought up by the dentist. If left untreated, bruxism increases the chances of chipped, cracked, or broken teeth as well as TMJ problems.
Causes of grinding
- Stress and anxiety
- Missing teeth
- Sleep apnea
- Improper tooth alignment
- Neurological conditions like parkinsonism
What is a Night Guard?
It is a device that is placed inside the mouth, along the upper or lower arch, which stops the effects of clenching and grinding. Both these acts harm your teeth. The night guard provides a layer of protection and prevents the teeth to come in contact with each other.
Which Night Guard is Best for You?
There are two types of night guard:
- one is over the counter night guards
- custom-made night guards.
Although over the counter night guards are less expensive, they might not fit your mouth properly and can cause discomfort. A custom made night guard is a professional night guard that is made by the dentist and fits in your mouth and lasts longer.
Depending on the need intensity of bruxism, night guards can be of two types; soft and dual laminate night guards. Soft night guard is recommended for mild or occasional cases and is more comfortable to the patient but some people can clench and chew on this soft guard which tears it. Dual laminate night guards are recommended for moderately severe grinders. They can handle heavy clenching and grinding but take little time by the patient to adjust.
Whether you need a soft or a dual laminate night guard, it depends on your intensity of grinding which your dentist can effectively evaluate so schedule an appointment with your dentist at the earliest and prevent any further damage to your teeth.