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Night Guards

Bruxism, commonly known as teeth grinding, is a fairly common condition that can cause pain and damage to the teeth. Fortunately, there are quite a few night guards available for bruxism that can help you or a family member who is clenching and grinding their teeth while sleeping.

If you are experiencing bruxism, you may not even be aware of it, since it often occurs at night.

 

Some common symptoms of bruxism are:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Waking up in the morning with a headache
  • Facial pain
  • Jaw soreness
  • Fatigue due to a lack of restful sleep

If you only grind your teeth occasionally, you may not notice any serious symptoms. But long-term bruxism can result in the loss of tooth enamel, broken teeth, and the loss of teeth in extremely severe cases.

There is currently no consensus on what exactly causes bruxism, but it is believed that anxiety and stress are major factors Other possible causes of bruxism are alcohol abuse, caffeine, cigarettes, snoring, abnormal bite and sleep apnea.

 

Night Guards

Most bruxism cases can be easily solved by the patient using a night guard while they are sleeping. Some other names for night guards are mouth guards, dental guards, bite splints and nocturnal bite plates. All of these work by placing a barrier between your upper and lower teeth. If you are clenching your jaw, they help to reduce muscle tension and cushion jaw muscles. This also helps in protecting tooth enamel.

You can purchase many night guards over-the-counter without a prescription. Many people prefer to get theirs from a dentist who can also provide support for the product.

Here are a few different types of night guards:

 

Soft Night Guard

This is the most popular type of night guard used for the treatment of teeth grinding. It is most useful for those who have mild or infrequent cases, rather than for those dealing with severe bruxism.

 

PROS:

  • Provides the most comfort of all night guards
  • Easy to become used to
  • Relatively inexpensive

 

CONS:

  • Not as durable as other types
  • Not a long-term treatment

 

Dual Laminate Night Guards

Dual laminate night guards are for those dealing with moderately severe bruxism. They are hard on the outside and soft on the inside.

 

PROS:

  • Capable of absorbing heavy grinding and clenching force
  • Durable and long-lasting

 

CONS:

  • Somewhat thicker than other night guards
  • More difficult to adjust to

 

Hard Night Guards

These are made of acrylic and are rigid but durable. They are good for severe bruxism, as well as TMJ.

 

PROS:

  • Keeps teeth from shifting
  • Most durable

 

CONS:

  • More uncomfortable than other types
  • Difficult to sleep with
  • Often more expensive than others

 

Adjusting to Night Guards

It is a good idea to select the thinnest possible night guard that works for you. Keep wearing it at least four to six weeks on a consistent basis. By then, it should be easier to wear and a normal part of your routine.