Finding Relief From Bruxism With a Custom Nightguard
If your jaw pain from teeth clenching, or bruxism, causes you to have difficulty sleeping, you’re not alone. Up to 60% of adults move their jaw while sleeping, and up to 8% are considered to have bruxism. Sometimes bruxism is a benign habit, but in many patients it can cause severe problems for their teeth, jaws, and muscles.
Bruxism can be caused by several factors and depends on a person’s medical history and lifestyle. Some of the most common possible causes of bruxism include:
- Sleep apnea
- Excessive caffeine
- Gastrointestinal problems
Consequences of bruxism can vary depending on the severity of teeth grinding. Some people experience mild symptoms, while others report debilitating effects from chronic clenching and grinding.
Common complications that arise from clenching at night are damage to teeth, jaw pain, headaches, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, jaw popping, and eating and speaking difficulties.
Treatment for nighttime bruxism traditionally includes a mouth guard to prevent further tooth damage and to alleviate jaw tension. Your dentist will also try to find the root cause of your teeth grinding because sometimes it can be corrected with the help of medication, lifestyle changes, or a sleep study.
Unfortunately, not all mouth guards are created equally, which is why dentists and the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend custom-made nightguards. You can easily snag a cheaper, over-the-counter appliance, but they are far less effective. Here are some of the advantages of custom-fit nightguards:
1. Custom-fit nightguard provides optimal protection.
A custom nightguard is your best option for bruxism because its overall goal is to protect your teeth and hold your jaw in its optimal position. A custom-fit nightguard is fabricated by a dental lab using a mold of your teeth.
Over-the-counter nightguards don’t always cover all of your teeth in the correct way to protect you from further damage. In fact, because stock nightguards are one-size-fits-all, they cannot benefit people with crowding, irregular bites, or restorations as precisely as a customized guard.
If your TMJ problems are due to bruxism, the last thing you want to put in your mouth is an appliance that can cause your jaw more stress. A dentist-made nightguard accurately fits your jaw and is designed according to your needs.
2. They are the most comfortable.
There is no question that an over-the-counter nightguard is not comfortable. Think of a stock shoe that is on display at a department store. That specific shoe is most likely too small or too large for many people and would be extremely uncomfortable for most of them to wear.
The same is true of generic nightguards. They may fit someone, but for most people, they are uncomfortable and bulky, causing even more difficulty sleeping.
3. Custom-fit nightguard is durable and long-lasting.
A custom nightguard is designed to fit your dental needs and focus on reducing or eliminating your symptoms. It not only fits your teeth more accurately but also is made of the right material for your bruxism’s severity.
- Hard nightguards: For heavy grinders, thicker, more rigid nightguards are ideal.
- Soft nightguards: For lighter grinders, this material is more flexible and often easier to get used to.
- Hybrid nightguards: For moderate to heavy grinders, a hybrid is composed from a dual-laminate material. Hybrids are around 2 mm thick and have a hard exterior with a soft interior.
4. They are safer than generic nightguards.
Some over-the-counter nightguards are known to tear from strong chewing forces, which can cause trauma to oral tissues and increase your choking risk. Rather than guess what type of mouth guard you need, consult with your dentist about your symptoms. If your dentist does recommend a nightguard, they will make it out of the material best suited for your specific case.
5. These nightguards are customized for your needs.
If you suffer from TMJ, the wrong nightguard can exacerbate your symptoms and cause more stress on your joints. TMJ treatment is delicate because it involves important nerves, muscles, and joints that impact your daily activities and quality of life. Investing in a custom-fit nightguard is one of the easiest ways to begin eliminating your painful symptoms.
Choose a bruxism splint that can improve your sleep by opening your airway for proper breathing. You’ll notice a decrease in grinding, reduction in snoring, and better sleeping habits.
Get back to a good night’s sleep.
Proper sleep should be one of your highest priorities to keep your health in top condition. Bruxism can cause serious damage to your teeth and lead to painful side effects like headaches and TMJ discomfort. Fortunately, your dentists at Valley Dental Clinic can help resolve your pain and improve your quality of life with a custom-fit nightguard. Contact us today to schedule an evaluation.