If you grind your teeth, clench your jaw, or otherwise do anything at night that may damage your teeth, you might need a mouthguard. It is not unusual for the experts here at Everglades Family Dental to have patients who are damaging their teeth without realizing it. This condition, called bruxism, causes you to clench your jaw and grind your teeth while you sleep. This can lead to a number of oral health issues. Fortunately, wearing a mouthguard at night can solve this problem.
Why Is a Mouthguard Necessary?
While the enamel on your teeth is very strong, it can wear down if it is put under constant pressure. If you grind your teeth at night, you will slowly lose the enamel on the very ends of your teeth. This may not seem like much at first, but over time, your teeth will actually become shorter. This can lead to issues with your bite and how your mouth rests when closed. If you clench your jaw in addition to the grinding, you can actually cause your teeth to crack. A mouthguard prevents both.
Because you are clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth while you sleep, you likely do not even realize what is happening. You may wake up with a sore or stiff jaw, but you may not associate that with damaging your teeth. Bruxism can come and go, as well, which makes it even easier to dismiss as something inconsequential.
What Does a Mouthguard Do to Prevent Damage?
A mouthguard is a plastic shield that slips over your teeth. When you clench your jaw or grind your teeth, this shield minimizes the damage. Your teeth cannot actually grind together, so they will not wear themselves down. The mouthguard also creates some padding between your top and bottom teeth, reducing the pressure they are under when you clench your jaw.
Do Mouthguards Cure Bruxism?
Unfortunately, no, mouthguards are not a cure for bruxism. They simply treat the symptoms, reducing the amount of damage bruxism can cause. You will need to wear the mouthguard for as long as you are suffering from bruxism. This condition is typically caused by stress. For most people, bruxism disappears after they become more relaxed and address the source of their stress.
Custom vs Stock Mouthguards
If you have just started dealing with bruxism, you may purchase a stock mouthguard. These mouthguards are a standard size and shape, so they are readily available. However, because they are not customized to fit your mouth, they may be somewhat uncomfortable to wear.
For dealing with long-term bruxism, you may want to invest in either a boil-and-bite mouthguard or a custom mouthguard. For the first, you boil the plastic form and then bite into it. This creates an impression of your teeth in the plastic, so it does fit better. If you determine that you need a mouthguard that perfectly fits, however, you will need a custom one. We will take precise measurements of your mouth and use them to create a mouthguard that will be comfortable and effective. If you want to learn more about bruxism or need a custom mouthguard, call Everglades Family Dental at 954-212-9600 today to make an appointment.