Mouth Guards for Tooth Grinding (Bruxism)

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Grinding your teeth is a common, nervous habit that can cause serious oral health problems.  Tooth grinding, clenching, gnashing and jaw tightening are all placed under the umbrella term ‘bruxism’.  It normally occurs throughout your nights sleep, and can leave your mouth and teeth sore and give you bad headaches.  Eventually, if left untreated, mouth guards to help for night use, or for day use and they are often called bite splints or plates.    

Symptoms of Bruxism

  • Headaches
  • Tension in the back and neck muscles
  • Chipped teeth
  • Loosened fillings
  • Wear and tear on tooth enamel
  • Damage to the connecting tissues of your lower jaw

Many different people are susceptible to bruxism, for example:

  • Those who drink alcohol before sleeping
  • Smokers
  • People who use drugs
  • People with sleep disorders such as snoring
  • People with stress, anxiety or depression
  • Those with bad occlusion or bite, it is believed that this can help to trigger bruxism

Type of Mouth Guards for Bruxism

Alike to sports mouth guards, bite splints or bite plates can be bought over the counter or can be specifically made for you by your dentist and a dental technician.  As is the case with sports mouth guards, the ones that are custom made for you will be the best fit and the most comfortable.  It is likely that they will also be more durable and effective.  It is not effective to use a sports mouth guard to help reduce bruxism as they are not specifically designed to counter the effects of tooth grinding and might cause further damage. 

A custom made mouth guard can cost anything from £20 to £700, depending on whether you are NHS registered. 
Alternative treatments for Bruxism

  • Hypnotherapy – This serves to create a relaxed environment and a heightened awareness of your bruxism.  This has been used to a high level of success.
  • Botox – This has been used more recently in a trial environment.  The theory is that by numbing certain, overactive muscles.  Early studies have shown good results but the longer term pros and cons are not yet known.

Realistically there is no perfect cure for bruxism and often the best that that you can do is to try to reduce your stress levels and wear a protective guard to prevent any damage that could be done.

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