Bruxism, which is the official name for nightly teeth grinding, is a common condition. The grinding occurs at night as you are sleeping, so the practice can be difficult to stop at will. Here is a bit of information about bruxism and the night guards that can be used to protect your teeth from its effects:
How does bruxism affect your teeth?
Bruxism irreparably damages your teeth, causing your tooth enamel to progressively wear away. In addition, the layer beneath your enamel, which is the dentin of the tooth, can be increasingly exposed.
Dentin is not as hard or resistant to damage as tooth enamel. Additionally, the dentin layer includes small tunnel-like structures that encase the dental nerves. As the dentin becomes exposed, the dental nerves are more apt to become inflamed.
Bruxism can also result in jaw discomfort and chronic headaches.
Night Guards to Protect Your Teeth From Bruxism
One of the best ways to avoid the damage incited by bruxism is to use a night guard. A night guard is a specialized dental device that is worn like a mouthpiece to create a protective barrier between the teeth of your upper and lower palates. Each guard is made of a soft, shock-absorbent material that is non-abrasive to the teeth.
Types of Bruxism Night Guards
There are multiple types of night guards that are designed to treat bruxism. Here are a few of them:
Custom Guards from Your Dentist
When your dentist discovers that you suffer from bruxism, he or she is likely to prescribe a night guard. A guard that is obtained through a dentist is custom-fitted to ensure that it is comfortable.
The dentist takes an impression of your mouth and forwards it to a dental laboratory that creates your guard. Once the night guard is received from the lab, a final fitting is performed so that the dentist can make any additional adjustments, ensuring that the fit is as perfect as possible.
Some guards that are available over-the-counter, instruct you to boil the device then bite it to obtain a custom fit. Although these guards do offer more comfort than a standard one-size-fits-all night guard, they may still be a bit bulkier than a professional custom guard.
Standard guards are generally designed to fit a wide range of mouth sizes and structures, but their lack of customization can cause them to be a bit uncomfortable.
If you believe that you suffer from bruxism and would like to obtain a custom night guard, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area. Contact a dental office like Pacific Ave Dental/Allan L. Hablutzel, DDS for more information and assistance.