Countering the debilitating effects of teeth grinding
Excessive teeth grinding and clenching—known as bruxism—is a common condition that can lead to debilitating problems over time. While this habit may occur during the day, the vast majority of teeth grinding and clenching takes place at night. After all, there’s no conscious control over this habit and in the long term, it can actually weaken your teeth.
Fortunately, there is a simple solution. A specialised mouth guard called a night guard can be fitted to eliminate the problem.
As the teeth are ground together, the outer surface and enamel wears away. This exposes the softer inner surface—the dentin—and can lead to the loss of teeth. In addition, the constant grinding affects the jaw muscles and joints which can lead to underlying headaches.
Very heavy grinders who have suffered for years may need some dental work to build up the worn-out areas of the teeth to get their bite back to normal.
To ensure a perfect, comfortable fit, the night guard is custom-made for each patient. We take an impression of the upper and lower teeth, send it out to the lab and after a week or two, the night guard is ready. We then fit it for the patient and it’s very easy to use. It’s simply placed in the mouth at night, just before sleep.
The material is very thin and clear. The night guard is comfortable and doesn’t interfere with breathing or speaking. Some patients even use them during the day without anyone noticing they have something in their mouth.
Not only does the night guard save the teeth, it has also helps save relationships! One of the biggest impacts of teeth grinding is on the partner of the sufferer. The noise can be so loud and irritating that it makes sleep impossible. Obviously, this is not the greatest situation when you share a bed. A night guard eliminates all the noise and has led to much happier sleeping arrangements for couples.
While night guards are made for comfort and ease of use, they are also a very hardy device. Most people get a couple of years out of a night guard before it needs to be replaced. Even three or four years of use is not uncommon. If a person is an unusually heavy teeth grinder, they may need to replace the device every year but that’s only in the most severe of cases.
It is important to remember that while a night guard is designed to protect the teeth, it’s not a cure to teeth grinding. If the device is not worn then the teeth grinding will continue and all the attendant problems will occur. That being said, there have been some cases where the night guard has adjusted the way people bite and effectively ‘cured’ the teeth grinding.
A night guard is such a simple device but it can have a dramatic impact on people’s lives. It can save your teeth, stop headaches and relieve muscular tensions. And it might even save your marriage!
Find out more about night mouth guards