Benefits of Mouthguards for Teeth Grinding and Clenching

Benefits of Mouthguards for Teeth Grinding and Clenching

Jul 01, 2023

While common, jaw clenching and teeth grinding often go undiagnosed and untreated, significantly impacting oral health. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding or jaw clenching is an excessive and unconscious act of grinding, clenching, or gnashing teeth.

While it can occur during the day, it’s common during sleep. It can range from mild to chronic. Read on to learn more about clenching and how a mouthguard can be beneficial.

What Causes Bruxism?

While the exact cause of bruxism isn’t fully understood, it’s commonly associated with factors like stress, abnormal bite alignment, anxiety, certain medications, drug abuse, and existing conditions like Parkinson’s disease and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ).

Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism

Some of the common signs and symptoms of bruxism include:

  • Loud snoring
  • Audible teeth grinding and clenching, often reported by another person
  • Teeth that are fractured, worn-out chipped, loose, or flattened
  • Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
  • Pain in the jaw, neck, or face
  • Dull morning headaches
  • Pain that feels like an earache
  • Tight, stiff, or locked jaw
  • Injuries on the inside of the cheeks
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Discomfort when chewing or biting down

You should see a dentist or doctor for these symptoms or related concerns. While most cases of bruxism are temporary, regular grinding and clenching can be too much on the teeth, gums, and jaw, leading to various issues like teeth wear, gum disease, gum recession, TMJ, and tooth decay. Thus, prompt treatments are essential to restore oral comfort and prevent complications.

Getting a Mouthguard for Jaw Clenching and Grinding

Once you visit your dentist for bruxism, they will conduct a comprehensive exam to determine the root cause of your condition and effective treatment options. Since the specific cause of bruxism can be difficult to establish, your dentist can recommend a mouthguard to reduce the impact of bruxism.

A mouthguard is an oral appliance that fits over your teeth on either jaw. The guard acts as a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth, preventing them from directly grinding or clenching against each other. The guard also acts as a shock absorber by absorbing and dispersing the pressure and friction of bruxism.

Benefits of Getting a Mouthguard for Bruxism

A mouthguard reduces the impact of bruxism on your teeth and jaw, providing a wide array of benefits, including:

  1. Protection against tooth damage. A mouthguard creates a barrier against the upper and lower teeth, preventing them from grinding directly against each other.  This prevents damage like chips, cracks, erosion, and sensitivity.
  2. Alleviates discomfort. Chronic bruxism can cause too much pressure on the jaw and teeth, leading to discomfort in the jaw, teeth, face, and head.
  3. Prevents TMJ disorders. Chronic bruxism can cause significant pressure on the jaw muscles and joints, contributing to temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ, which can cause further problems like pain, inflammation, locked jaw, and teeth damage. A mouthguard can reduce the effects of bruxism on the jaw and teeth, reducing the risk of TMJ.
  4. Improves sleep quality. Repeated bruxism can make falling or staying asleep difficult, leading to poor sleep quality. A mouthguard minimizes the effects of bruxism, allowing you to sleep better and longer without disruptions. Good sleep quality is good for overall health and well-being.
  5. Protection against snoring and sleep apnea. A mouthguard can help reposition your jaw or tongue, keeping your airway open. This can help prevent airway sleep disorders like snoring and sleep apnea.

Getting the Right Mouthguard for Teeth Grinding 

There are three types of mouthguards: stock, boil-and-bite, and custom-fit. Stock mouthguards are pre-made and can be obtained over the counter without a prescription. They are ready to wear and relatively inexpensive. However, they can be ill-fitting, uncomfortable, bulky, and poor quality.

Boil-and-bite mouthguards are pre-made but must be boiled and bitten to provide a custom fit. While more expensive than stock guards, they provide a better fit and protection against teeth bruxism.

Custom-fit mouthguards are made by a dental professional using your specific mouth structure. While more expensive than other guards, they provide excellent comfort and protection. They are also made from high-quality materials, making them highly durable.

Comparing the three mouthguards, custom-made guards from your dentist are the best option, especially if you have moderate to severe bruxism. Visit our office near you for custom mouthguards.

Learn More about Mouth Guards in Wellesley, MA.

Do you have teeth grinding or clenching? Prompt treatment is essential to protect your teeth, jaw, gums, and mouth. For more information about bruxism and mouthguards, contact Wellesley Dental Arts.

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