Bruxism's relentless nighttime teeth grinding and jaw clenching aren't just uncomfortable. These harmful behaviors also damage your teeth and make getting a good night's sleep tough. Night guards are the treatment that dentists tend to recommend. However, some people seek out other treatments. When selecting the right bruxism treatment for your needs, exploring night guard alternatives can be enlightening. In addition, you'll want to know why dentists recommend night guards. Understanding how to find a comfortable night guard also helps.
The Basics of Treating Bruxism
For people suffering from bruxism, the repetitive clenching of the jaw and grinding of the teeth can be a dental health nightmare. Over time, this behavior can cause excessive wear and tear to the teeth. It can even set the stage for cracked or broken teeth and other oral health issues. Those who clench also tend to have trouble with tender jaw muscles and achy temporomandibular joints. This can lead to jaw pain and TMJ disorders. To be effective, bruxism treatments have to halt physical contact between the teeth of grinders. Alternately, they can discourage the muscle movements that drive grinding and clenching.
Related Article: Jaw Exercises For TMJ
Mouth Guard Alternatives for Bruxism
Botox, a form of botulinum toxin, is a neurotoxin. While it may seem odd to use a toxic substance for healing, Botox is used to treat everything from migraines to muscle spasms. Injecting it into the masseter muscles that sit beneath the cheekbones seems to offer relief from bruxism. It temporarily weakens the muscles without interfering with speech, chewing, or forming expressions.
Botox seems to be fairly safe, but the injections must be performed by an experienced professional. They only last a few months, and there is some concern that repeated injections may lead to a loss of bone density.
Related Article: Will Insurance Cover Botox For Tmj?
An acupuncturist treats pain with the careful placement of hair-thin needles. The idea is that targeting specific points can clear energetic blockages and offer support to the body's healing systems. This restores balancing and improves wellness. While it may seem odd, acupuncture has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of health conditions. Many bruxism sufferers seem to find regular sessions with an acupuncturist soothing.
If you're interested in trying acupuncture, be sure to choose a licensed or certified professional. Do your homework before you schedule your first appointment.
Biofeedback therapy is based on the idea that you can train your body to respond in a specific manner. In the case of bruxism, this means recognizing when you begin grinding or clenching and halting the behavior. Since this happens while you're sleeping, it isn't easy. However, early studies suggest there may be possibilities here.
Unfortunately, biofeedback therapies for bruxism are still in the early stages of development. For the moment, most reputable devices are aimed at clinicians.
Homeopathic remedies use natural substances and home remedies to prompt and support the body's healing mechanisms. Homeopathic remedies for bruxism mean mindful relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing or physical ones like meditation or warmth. Vitamins and herbal supplements intended to combat inflammation and promote relaxation are also popular choices.
Some people try to manage their bruxism with just homeopathic remedies. Others find that combining these remedies with other treatment methods improves their comfort level.
Why Dentists Recommend Night Guards
Some people find relief with one or more of the alternative treatments discussed above. However, dentistry professionals generally recommend a night guard as their treatment of choice for a reason: it works.
Wearing a dental night guard places a thin layer of material between the teeth. This cushion not only encourages the jaw muscles to relax but also forms a physical barrier that prevents contact between the teeth. Instead of two teeth colliding, the upper or lower teeth come into contact with plastic that can absorb some of the force and prevent damage.
Night guards have other benefits. These devices are easy to use. You'll simply need to pop them in before bedtime and store them when they're not in use. Care is minimal. Perform a little basic cleaning, and replace the device as necessary. What about safety? As long as the night guard is clean and in good condition, there's little cause for concern. Choking isn't likely. If it does happen to come loose at night, your reflexes will prompt you to spit it out. Finally, night guards are affordable. This is especially true when you consider that wearing one can save you in fortune dentist's office visits by protecting your teeth from costly damage.
Choosing a Comfortable Night Guard
There are two main categories of night guards. Over-the-counter night guards can be found on the shelves of your local convenience drugstore or at Amazon. These boil-and-bite devices feature trays that are soaked in hot water to soften them. Then, they're placed in the mouth and shaped for a somewhat personalized fit. They're quick, easy, and cheap. However, they aren't durable, comfortable, or strong enough to withstand any real grinding.
If comfort is a concern, a custom-fitnight guard is a better choice. These night guards are made from medical-grade materials and a mold of your mouth in professional dental labs. As a result, you get a custom fit that delivers a more comfortable feel. You can order one through your dentist. For a more cost-effective approach, shop with a specialty company like Pro Teeth Guard that accepts online orders for custom-fit guards created in dental labs. With a reputable company, the product that you'll get is effectively the same one that you'd get from your dentist for a much lower price.
While there are alternative treatments, night guards are the dentist's pick because these affordable, user-friendly devices work well. At Pro Teeth Guard, we make it easy to get a custom-fitmouthguard at an affordable price. Our night guards are carefully crafted from top-quality materials in a professional dental lab, and every night guard is guaranteed to fit comfortably with our 110% money-back guarantee.