Are you familiar with the headaches and pains in the jaw that accompany teeth grinding at night? Here’s some great news for you!
Though a permanent cure is yet to be found for teeth grinding during sleep, mouth guards offer a temporary remedy to prevent teeth grinding, which is also known as bruxism.
The mouth guard is a plastic device that is designed to fit over your teeth to prevent any damage which could result from teeth grinding.
An oral health website describes a mouth guard for sleep as “a helpful device that can protect your teeth from bruxism.”
It is vital that you choose the right mouth guard, one that suits your dental structure. This is essential because using a mouth guard that doesn’t fit properly could worsen teeth grinding.
To get a well-fitting and effective mouth guard that’ll tackle teeth grinding during sleep, you need to consider some factors.
6 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Mouth Guard
Imagine the discomfort that will come with using a mouth guard that is too loose or too tight, or using a mouth guard that makes you feel like your mouth is no longer yours? Choosing a mouth guard that is your perfect fit cannot be overemphasized. You need to feel comfortable when you have them on.
Also, your breathing should not be difficult when you have your mouth guard on. It creates an uneasy feeling while trying to sleep, knowing that something isn’t right with your breathing or mouth.
Though it’s normal for you to feel a bit of discomfort the first few times you’ll put on a mouth guard, you’d get familiar with it when you wear it continuously.
If the discomfort continues after wearing it for at most, four times, you should inform your dentist as soon as you can. That way, your dentist can deduce what the problem is and fix it.
There are three major types of mouth guards.
- Stock or Pre-Made Mouth Guards
This type of mouth guard is already made for immediate use.
They are the least expensive of all mouth guard types, and they don’t need to be changed to fit into your mouth, as they can easily be fixed in and out.
Pre-made mouth guards, most times, doesn’t fit into the teeth of most people, which makes it uncomfortable to use.
- Boil and Bite Mouth Guard
To make this type of mouth guard, it (the mouth guard) is dipped in hot water to soften, after which it is placed over the teeth.
- Custom Fitted Mouth Guards
Most dentists recommend this type of mouth guard as the most effective kind for handling teeth grinding.
To make a customized mouth guard, the dentist will examine the details of your teeth, and create a mould that is the exact shape of your teeth. This mould is used to create a mouth guard that is uniquely yours.
Custom made mouth guards are more comfortable to use, as you won’t have to contend with the discomfort of adjusting and readjusting the mouth guard to fit you since they are made using the exact shape of your mouth and teeth.
How much you are willing to spend will determine the type and quality of mouth guard that will be available for you to choose from.
Since most dentists recommend custom-made mouth guards for teeth grinders, these type of mouth guards cost more than the other types.
If you can invest in a quality custom-made mouth guard, you wouldn’t need to spend more money at intervals trying to replace your worn-out mouth guards.
Mouth guards come in hard or soft textures. Choosing the right mouth guard should be determined by the seriousness of the teeth grinding.
A light grinder will not need the quality of mouth guard a heavy grinder would require. The America Sleep Association classifies mouth guards into three: Soft, Laminate and Hard Mouth Guards.
- Soft Mouth Guards
Soft mouth guards are best suited for people with mild or occasional cases of teeth grinding.
It is much easier to get used to wearing a soft mouth guard, as it’s not bulky.
You could also purchase this type of mouth guard at a lower cost.
While soft mouth guards are comfortable to use, they are not durable. It is easy to chew on the soft material and weaken it, making it likely to tear easily.
- Dual Laminate Mouth Guards
This is best suited for moderately severe cases of teeth grinding.
To reduce the discomfort of heavy mouth guards, dual laminate mouth guards are soft inside but hard outside.
They can handle heavy clenching and grinding.
- Hard Mouth Guards
Acrylic is used to produce hard mouth guards, and they are very rigid but durable.
Their rigid nature makes it easy to withstand any kind of heavy teeth grinding.
It is more difficult to adjust to this type of mouth guard because it looks and feels bulkier.
- Resistance to Tear:
There are chances that you could still grind your teeth even when your mouth guard is on. This is why it is crucial that you choose a mouth guard that won’t tear easily. Most dentists recommend custom made mouth guards as they’re not likely to tear easily, unlike the pre-made mouth guards.
Since most mouth guards are made with rubber, it is not unusual for a mouth guard to have that rubbery taste.
To provide you with a taste different from rubber, some mouth guard brands offer flavored varieties
When choosing the right mouth guard for you, ensure that it fits into your teeth appropriately. You’ll also need to ensure that your mouth guard of choice is FDA-approved, BPA-free and is made from EVA (Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate).
Your mouth guard shouldn’t make you feel gagged or leave you gasping for air.
A loose fitting could worsen a case of teeth grinding. This is why it is best to choose custom-made mouth guards that perfectly fit a wearer’s dentition.