WHAT IS A SLEEP MOUTH GUARD AND WHY DO YOU NEED IT?
A dental mouth guard for sleep is a helpful oral appliance that can protect your teeth from bruxism. If you’re waking up with headaches, an aching jaw or facial pain, it might be time to consider purchasing a night guard for sleeping. Alternatively, if your partner complains that you grind your teeth during the night, there’s a high probability you have sleep bruxism. Read on for tips to improve your oral health.
WHAT IS BRUXISM?
Bruxism or teeth grinding is a problem that affects around one in 10 people. There are two types of bruxism:
- Sleep bruxism
- Wake-time bruxism
Both types of teeth grinding are considered to be parafunctional behaviors. That means forced contact between upper and lower teeth serves no functional purpose and is not what your teeth were intended for.
Sleep bruxism is classified as a sleep disorder and is characterized by the senseless act of grinding, gnashing or clenching the teeth while asleep. Teeth may be in contact during sleep bruxism for up to 40 minutes during an hour.
Studies about what causes bruxism are fairly inconclusive. One assumption is bruxism is one of many side effects linked to stress, anxiety, and the use of stimulants (like caffeine, alcohol and recreational drugs).
This means that it is hard to find a cure or teach someone to stop grinding their teeth. However, it is important to try and prevent bruxism because it can cause some serious damage. In extreme cases, sleep bruxism can lead to cracked and decaying teeth, gum swelling, infections, and severe joint pain in your upper or lower jaw.
WHAT CAN A SLEEP MOUTH GUARD DO FOR YOU?
The sleep mouth guard is the most effective way to prevent teeth grinding and to improve sleep quality. Though bite guards can’t always get rid of the grinding or stop it completely, they do provide a protective barrier for your teeth to halt any further damage. Grinding wears away the enamel, compromising the physical integrity of your teeth and leading to potential nerve damage (and expensive dentist visits).
Mouth guards also provide cushioning for your jaw muscles, which receive the brunt of the pressure when you clench or grind your teeth. A mouth guard for clenching teeth will stop you from experiencing jaw pain in the morning or throughout the day as well as any lasting joint problems in that area. A mouth guard can also help counter the physical movement of grinding and reduce the frequency of grinds or clenches during the night.
MOUTH GUARD FOR SLEEP APNEA
While some people may wear a mouthguard while sleeping to prevent teeth grinding, others may do so to prevent symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. As their airways narrow at night, those with sleep apnea often wake up during the night.
CPAP machines are one treatment option, but this requires wearing a mask attached to a pump to push air through the relevant passageways. For those with mild symptoms, a mouth guard for sleep apnea offers a less intrusive solution. It opens the airways by positioning the jaw more forward and down. This can help open the airways.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, consult with a medical professional to determine if a sleep mouth guard specifically designed to help with sleep apnea can help.
WHAT TYPE OF MOUTHGUARD FOR SLEEPING IS THE BEST?
There are a few different types of mouthguard for sleeping. There are sports mouthguards, often made of stiff plastic, which have a very low cost. There are over-the-counter mouthguards, which you can purchase at pharmacies or convenience stores. These are sometimes known as boil-and-bite mouthguards, as you mold them to your teeth after boiling them in hot water.
These are softer and more comfortable than sports mouthguards but still very affordable. However, both of these types are very thick and can be difficult to breathe normally in, which makes sleeping with them quite difficult.
The best mouthguards for sleep bruxism are custom mouthguards, which are made from a mold of your teeth and sent to a lab.
One of the great benefits of these mouthguards is that, not only are they designed to fit the contours of your mouth, but they also allow for easy speech and normal breathing while you wear them. You can pick the firmness of your sleeping mouthguard based on whether you clench or grind your teeth and the severity at which you do this. Severe grinders or “bruxers” should invest in a hard night mouthguard because it offers more durability.
This type of mouthguard can be ordered from your dentist, but the downside is that it comes with a hefty price tag. However, you can also order a custom-fitted mouthguard from an online dental lab like Pro Teeth Guard. You will receive a high-quality, professionally made bpa-free night guard for teeth grinding, but without the added cost and hassle of visiting a clinic.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Once you order your sleep mouth guard, you are sent a home impression kit in the mail. Using plastic trays and putty, you create a mold of your teeth. Then, you mail it back to us in a prepaid envelope. We make the guard from the molds, and you will receive it after six to 10 days.
If you’re grinding and clenching your teeth while you sleep, then you need to protect them. Moreover, the best preventative measure is some type of mouthguard.
In terms of cost and effectiveness, a sleeping mouthguard from a private seller will offer you the most comfortable form of protection, without draining your bank account. This means you can sleep peacefully, knowing your teeth are protected. After all, you only get one set of them.
Bruxism is a serious condition, and you should treat it as such. When left unattended, teeth grinding can cause:
- Severe facial or jaw pain
- Tension-type headaches
- Damage to your teeth, restorations, crowns or jawbone
- Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
Purchasing a custom-made mouth guard for sleep is the most prudent way to protect your teeth and avoid the other harmful consequences caused by bruxism.