Knowing that one in three adults grind their teeth while asleep is not much of a consolation if you are a teeth grinder or are sleeping with one. While not taken very seriously, this common disorder can seriously affect person’s life. Teeth grinding disrupts sleep, is linked to sleep apnea, erodes teeth enamel, causes painful headache and can cause a series of serious complications. Getting a good teeth guard is the first order of business as soon as you suspect that you are grinding your teeth, even before your dentist confirms the diagnosis. Teeth guard is not a cure, but will prevent further teeth damage and other complications while you are looking for a cause of your bruxism.
Types of teeth guards
Most people learn that they are grinding their teeth from their sleeping partner, and get confirmation from their dentist. Dentist can see and measure the erosion of teeth caused by grinding and will suggest a dental teeth guard to prevent further damage and complications.
The number of available types of mouth guards for teeth grinding on the market is huge, and they vary hugely in quality, price and relief they offer. There are two basic types: ready-made, commercial guards, and custom guards.
Ready-made teeth guards are readily available in all larger drugstores, and their main advantage is that they are cheap and can be used right away, ensuring quick protection of the teeth and relief of teeth grinding symptoms.
When choosing an off-the-counter teeth guard, the main consideration of most people is the price. Keep in mind that the cheaper the guard is, the less durable it will be, and you will have to replace it.
Another important consideration is the intensity of your teeth grinding. If you are a heavy grinder, and you will know it by the seriousness of your teeth erosion and the pain in your jaw every morning, you need strong, durable guard. Most manufacturers offer more than one type of guards, depending on the intensity of grinding. With experience, you will learn if one particular guard is strong enough to withstand the amount of abuse you expose it to every night. Keep in mind that none will last forever.
When it comes to comfort, ‘boil and bite’ teeth guards are ahead of the self-adjusting types. They have to be pre-heated before being inserted into the mouth, to become pliable. Once they harden, they fit almost perfectly.
But, because they are made to fit any size jaw, ‘one size fits all’ teeth guards are never completely comfortable and do not last long. Look at them as a temporary solution, until you can be fitted with a custom guard that is made just for you.
Custom guards, as your dentist will tell you, is the only type of teeth guard that is made just for you, based on the mold of your teeth. Your dentist will also suggest the right strength of guard and whether you will do better with upper or lower guard. The price can be significant and very few insurers will cover custom dental guards. That is the reason why people are now turning to companies offering custom guards made from the teeth molds made by patients themselves. The quality of such guards can equal that made for you by your dentist, but it greatly depends on how good job you did when making the mold of your jaws.
Regardless of how good your teeth guard is, don’t forget that it is not meant to cure your teeth grinding, but to protect your teeth until you find the cause, and the solution, of your grinding. Unless your cause of bruxism is stress. Once you find a way to eliminate the stress in your life, or find a good stress relief mechanism, your bruxism will hopefully go away too.