If you grind your teeth, or bruxism, you are not alone. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, an estimated 25% of the population grinds their teeth, leading to excessive wear on their teeth and increased risk of oral pain and tooth loss. Luckily, wearing night guards can protect your teeth from damage caused by bruxism and lessen symptoms such as headaches and jaw pain. To learn more about how night guards work, read on!
What is bruxism?
Bruxism is a disorder in which you grind or clench your teeth. Many people grind their teeth at night, but bruxism can also occur during waking hours. People who have bruxism often aren’t aware that they clench or grind their teeth, because they do it subconsciously. Although it isn’t usually a sign of serious medical problems, bruxism can lead to jaw pain, headaches, and tooth damage if left untreated.
Night Guards vs Mouth Guards
What’s The Difference? Knowing what your dental needs are is vital to avoiding unnecessary confusion. While both night guards and mouth guards offer similar benefits, there are a few differences you should be aware of before making your decision. In short, if you experience any kind of pain during sleep—whether in your jaw or anywhere else—be sure to see your dentist as soon as possible to determine whether a night guard or mouth guard is right for you.
Choosing The Right Night Guard
There are a number of types of night guards, with each being designed for a different condition. If you suffer from bruxism, you’ll want to discuss your options with your dentist before making a purchase. Be sure to ask which guard is right for you—one that works best might not be within your budget. Dentists will typically give their opinion on what they think would work best, but ultimately it’s up to you to decide. Often times it will depend on how much money you want to spend, or what level of comfort you prefer. For example: Many people find more comfortable by wearing a conventional mouth guard that fits over their teeth rather than using one that resembles an athletic mouthguard but only protects one side of their teeth (can be flipped around). Patients who do not have TMJ usually wear conventional mouth guards because those who do have TMJ may find them uncomfortable because they may push back against jaw muscles and make symptoms worse during clenching.
Types of Night Guards
There are many different types of night guards, but we’ll cover two of them in greater detail here.
- Over-the counter night guards- These are the guards which are pre-made and can be used directly
- Custom made night guard – These are the night guards which are made by the dentist by taking the exact size of the jaw . First the mouth impression is taken , then mould is made after which the material is poured over the mould to make the bite guard . This type of bite guard has excellent fitting and very comfortable.