If you clench and grind your teeth, you may also suffer from jaw pain and chronic headaches. A dental guard can help protect your teeth at night and relieve symptoms during the day. But not every mouth guard is the same. While some are better suited to athletes looking to protect their smiles, others address more specific medical reasons, like relieving sleep apnea symptoms. So which one is right for you?
Types of Mouth Guards
When it comes to protecting your smile, not every mouth guard is the same. Here are some of the most common types of mouth guards:
- Over-the-counter/stock mouth guards can be purchased almost anywhere and are ready for immediate use. These mouth guards work best to protect soft tissues and teeth from injury, as they help reduce the forces from head blows one may experience when playing sports. However, little can be done to adjust their fit, and once in place, they may make breathing or talking more difficult. These mouth guards are not ideal for bruxism or TMJ.
- Boil and bite mouth guards are made of thermoplastic material, and are often sought out as a “quick fix” for TMJ sufferers. Just as it sounds, the guard is placed in hot water to soften, then into the mouth and shaped to the teeth using pressure from the tongue and fingers. Although these mouth guards are easy to find and purchase, they often are made of softer materials that may lead to more clenching than before — a sometimes damaging and costly side-effect.
- Custom night guards made by your dentist are the safest and most effective way to stop the nasty side-effects of clenching and grinding in its tracks. Made from a full-mouth impression in our office, these guards are made to ensure a perfect fit. Thin but durable materials make this type of guard easy to wear, talk, and sleep with. Although the cost of a custom night guard is greater than the drugstore variety, they do not have to be replaced nearly as often, and the long-term benefits of preserving your smile, health, and sleep are well worth it.
- Other oral devices may look similar to mouth guards for grinders, but are used primarily for other reasons, like easing symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that causes disruptions in breathing and snoring at night. Special mouth pieces for sleep apnea sufferers are created from full-mouth impressions in our office, and users and provide relief for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea sufferers.
Which Mouth Guard Is Right for Me?
Our dentists will be able to tell if you grind your teeth, and may recommend a night guard to help you with morning headaches, TMJ jaw pain, and to prevent damage to your teeth, jaw, crowns, or other dental restorations. Ignoring your symptoms or prolonging your treatment can lead to serious dental issues requiring expensive treatments. Rest assured, you can count on us at Park Avenue Dental to point you in the right directions when it comes to your mouth guard needs.
Protect Your Pearly Whites
Our team of trusted professionals is highly experienced in mouth guards, as well as repairing the tooth damage that clenching and grinding without a mouth guard cause. Contact us to schedule your dental checkup today!