Roughly 20 percent of grown-ups and approximately 30% of children suffer from some form of bruxism.
This condition is characterized by habitual or involuntary teeth grinding and it typically happens at night during sleep. Bruxism is often accompanied by jaw clenching.
Even though it’s not a life-threatening condition, bruxism gives rise to painful symptoms like chipped teeth, jaw pain, and chronic headache. Teeth grinding is also associated with short sleep duration and poor sleep quality.
While there’s no remedy or cure for the night teeth grinding, the specialized anti-bruxism mouth guards can do a good job of reducing grinding/clenching and relieving pain.
The key is to choose the right night guard for you. That can be a challenging task, though. There is a wide range of mouthguard options available and a plethora of factors to take into account when making a purchase decision.
Below you can familiarize yourself with different mouth guard options for jaw clenchers and teeth grinders. You can also get familiar with the most important considerations when choosing the best night guard.
Crucial Considerations for Night Guard Buyers
When buying a mouth guard, a lot of things come into play. Here are some of the decisive factors in selecting the best option.
Do You Need a Night Guard?
Before doing anything else, think about why you actually need a night mouth guard. Your best bet would be to visit a dentist who will help you in assessing the extent and type of your condition.
Do you have a headache, facial pain, or jaw pain? Do you have a feeling of tightness in your jaw? If the answers are yes, be sure to see your dentist as soon as you can.
Type of bruxism plays an important role in determining the most suitable thickness, material, and type of mouth protector.
- Daytime Bruxism — Choose a lightweight, ultra-thin (2.5 mm), acrylic daytime guard that is almost invisible.
- Moderate Bruxism — In this case, a hybrid, acrylic, custom-fitted mouth guard would be ideal for you. It can be thick anywhere from 2 to 3 millimetres.
- Extreme Bruxism — You are advised to go for a 3-millimetre thick acrylic mouth guard.
How a Night Guard is Fitted
Every single person has slightly different teeth alignment and mouth. That said, it’s critical to pick a night guard that provides the specific fit for your teeth.
Don’t experiment with cheap, low-quality stock mouthguards. An ill-fitting guard will only make matters worse in case of serious symptoms. That can cause discomfort when you’re eating or speaking.
At worst, your teeth alignment will get deformed permanently. This is especially true when using an unsuited, inadequate guard continuously over a long period of time.
While there is a huge selection of models to choose from, generally speaking, there are 3 mouthguard types:
- Stock mouth guards — Preformed ready-to-wear mouth protectors that can be purchased at many department stores and sporting good shops. They are fairly inexpensive. Most dentists don’t recommend stock mouth guards because they are bulky and heavy. By the way, these guards provide poor protection.
- Boil-and-bite mouth guards — While this kind of mouth guard is likely to give you a better fit than the previous one, it’s still not on par with custom dental models. Boil-and-bite mouth protectors are constructed of thermo-softening plastic. It’s meant to be placed in hot or boiled water before use. Once the guard has softened, you can place it in your mouth and bite down. It’s going to shape around your teeth in a matter of seconds.
- Custom-fitted mouth guards — As their name suggests, these mouth guards are molded in such a way as to individually fit your teeth and get customized for your mouth. Keep in mind that these are not available at stores, as is the case with the previous two options. Instead, they’re made in dental offices. Please note that this is the most expensive option. Yet you’ll get your money’s worth, as custom-fitted mouth guards provide the best protection and comfort.
Are Night Guards Comfortable?
In addition to providing a custom fitting, the mouth guard should also be comfortable and meet your personal preferences.
Most importantly, it should solve discomfort and problems produced by teeth grinding. So, make sure the piece you intend to use fits snuggly so that you feel comfortable while wearing it.
What are Night Guards Made From?
Another thing you need to take into consideration before making up your mind is the material composition of the mouth guard.
Night mouthguards are usually made of rigid materials. Custom models typically consist of two layers – a rigid bottom layer made out of materials such as laminate as well as a soft, acrylic top layer. Cheap models only have one layer.
Be sure to choose a model that is latex- and BPA-free. This isn’t only good for nature. It’s also good for your health.
Remember that you will be spending about 7 hours daily with the night guard in your mouth. You don’t want to chew on plastic that can harm you in any way for such long periods of time.
Are Night Guards Durable?
Durability mostly depends on the materials used in construction. Your night guard must be reliable and extremely durable.
That’s because you’ll apply a lot of pressure on it while grinding your teeth at night. The guard ought to be able to withstand that pressure and last you a lifetime.
Are Night Guards Easy to Clean?
Your night guard should also be easy to clean and maintain. For that reason, it is a good idea to choose a model that can be washed quickly without too much effort.
Most mouth guards are supposed to be rinsed on a daily basis. They require storage in a perfectly clean sterilized container.
Saving Your Teeth with Night Guards
Do you grind your teeth during sleep? Don’t ignore this problem. Continuous grinding of teeth leads to dental erosion and structural damage to jaws.
That’s why you should choose the best mouth guard and wear it while sleeping. This will prevent the bruxism symptoms and address your problems in a convenient manner.
No matter your age, dental condition, and if you have a million questions, Dr. Sims can assist you or your young children in a professional manner and loves answering any of your questions or concerns.
Dr. Sims grew up in Grimsby playing basketball, so he’s always up for talking about the Raptors! He’s also a football fan - go Buffalo Bills! In his free time, if he’s not watching a basketball game or football game, you’ll likely find him working out, cooking (got any new recipe ideas?), and of course, spending time with his amazing family.