What is Bruxism Dental Appliance?
Bruxism is a condition characterized by excessive teeth grinding and jaw clenching specifically during sleep. Long-term bruxism can cause significant damage to your teeth leading to toothache, muscle pain, sensitivity, and other dental problems.
Our teeth are strong enough for chewing food which accounts for 10-20 minutes of actual contact time over a day. However, bruxism can cause teeth to clench against each other for hours each day. You can use a bruxism appliance or night guard to alleviate such damage by bruxism. A night guard can typically cover all your teeth in one arch. When an individual clenches or grinds his/her teeth, they usually clench their teeth against the appliance, and not against the opposing teeth. This way, you can prevent the wearing away of teeth structure and improve your overall oral health.
Types of Bruxism
To plan for a quality night guard specifically designed for your teeth, we need to understand the type of bruxism you have as each of them may require a different approach during treatment.
- Sleep bruxism: The most common teeth-grinding condition many people are suffering from. Many people are not even aware of it when they clench or grind their teeth at night while sleeping. Such instances are mostly reported by their partners who are often woken up by the sound.
- Awake bruxism: A comparatively less common type of teeth-grinding habit that is easy to identify and treat. You may clench or grind your teeth when you experience anxiety or stress.
- Children’s bruxism: Your child may experience bruxism or teeth grinding at two different periods. When a baby tooth and a set of permanent teeth come in, it may cause bruxism. However, in most cases, the problem goes away thereafter. But if the problem persists, consult your dentist right away.
Types of Night Guard
While bruxism can cause serious, irreversible damage to your teeth, a mild case may not require professional treatment. However, to prevent such damage from occurring, using a bruxism appliance might help. There are various types of bruxism appliances available.
- Hard-guard: It’s made up of a hard and durable plastic material that offers maximum protection for your teeth and prevents such damage and sensitivity caused by bruxism. The hard material provides a strong barrier between the upper and lower teeth.
- Soft-guard: It is made from a soft and flexible material, usually a type of thermoplastic, that is designed to be comfortable and flexible in the mouth.
The main advantage of a soft night guard is its comfort. Because it is made from a soft material, it is less likely to cause discomfort or irritation while sleeping, making it a good choice for people who have difficulty adapting to hard night guards.
However, they may not offer the same level of protection as hard night guards or custom-fitted ones. They are often made up of soft plastic material and may not be of different quality. That’s why it’s important to consider the material and the manufacturer before purchasing one.
- Dual laminated: This type of night guard is made up of two layers of materials that consist of a soft inner layer and a harder outer layer. The dual-laminated night guard provides better comfort and protection along with improved durability in comparison to a single-layer night guard.
Apart from that, our expert dentists at Royal East Dental are skilled in providing custom-made night guards designed to fit in your teeth. These require an impression of your teeth and are durable enough to bear the pressure of the occlusal load (while grinding or clenching).
Benefits of sleeping with a Night Guard
If stressed, you are more likely to grind your teeth while sleeping. However, wearing a night guard can keep you away from doing so. Here, we have listed a few night guard benefits that you need to know.
- Prevents further tooth damage: The night guard appliance ensures that your upper and lower teeth are not in contact while you sleep. Over time it causes enamel loss to your teeth making them overly sensitive.
- Reduces your jaw pain and tension: Due to continuous clenching, your jaw joint undergoes tension. When your jaw joint is not correctly aligned, it causes pain. Wearing a nightguard reduces jaw aches and relieves muscle tension.
- Have a good night’s sleep: The custom-made night guard will fit into your mouth and perfectly align your jaws. It provides a healthy sleeping pattern by relieving stress in your jaws. So that your muscles will be able to relax and help you to have a good night’s sleep. Hence they ensure a better fit, comfort, and protection from grinding as well.
- Prevent snoring: When you have your night guard in place, it prevents your jaws from touching each other. Hence increases the amount of airflow that you need to breathe in while sleeping. Thus it improves your breathing and reduces snoring.
Cost of Night Guard
The night guard cost may vary based on the type and material used. The cost of a dental night guard cost anywhere from about $0 to $200 under insurance coverage to about $300 to $500 without insurance. For over-the-counter night guards, the cost can range around $50-$100 as well.
Is it good to sleep with a night guard?
Wearing a night guard while sleeping can reduce the stress caused by bruxism which in turn gives you a good night’s sleep. A night guard will secure your jaw at an optimal position and eliminate the unwanted pressure over your teeth.
Do I need to clean the night guards daily?
Regular cleaning of night guards is necessary to maintain their durability. You can also rinse with hydrogen peroxide as well. Even simple water can also do the job.
Are night guards for upper teeth or lower teeth?
Most of the night guards are made to fit over your upper teeth. However, in certain circumstances, people do need to have guards for their lower teeth. If you want a custom-made bruxism appliance, your dentist will plan the type and design for your night guard based on your need and make it accordingly.