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Who Needs to Wear Mouth Guards at Night?


Posted on 6/10/2017 by Nicholas Dose
A dentist holding a mouth guard.
Night guards, or mouth guards that are worn at night, are custom fit devices often prescribed by your dentist.

Usually made from plastic, they cover some, or all, of your upper or lower teeth (in most cases, it's the upper teeth), providing cushioning and helping to reestablish a natural space between your upper and lower teeth. So, who needs to wear them?

Bruxism

Bruxism is a condition in which you grind and clench your teeth. It often happens unconsciously, particularly while you sleep, and have no control over it. Bruxism causes unnecessary extra pressure on your teeth, which can lead to one or more of several significant issues:

•  Uneven and excessive wear of your teeth.
•  Jaw pain (TMJ/TMD).
•  Receding gums.
•  Loose teeth, which can even fall out.

What Causes Bruxism?

Bruxism is commonly attributed to stress. When you are stressed, your muscles tense up, including the muscles in your face. Your jaw tenses, causing your teeth to gnash together.

There are other potential causes as well:

•  Alcohol.
•  Caffeine.
•  Smoking or other drugs.
•  Certain prescription medications.
•  Sleep apnea.
•  Misaligned teeth.

Can a Mouth Guard Fix Bruxism?

Unfortunately, a mouth guard cannot fix bruxism, but it can help to alleviate the symptoms, and prevent them from getting worse. In order to effectively treat bruxism, you must first discover what, exactly, is causing it. Then, you should take steps to treat the cause.

Some suggestions of stopping bruxism include:

•  Stress management techniques. There are many ways to manage stress, and it all depends upon what works best for you, whether it's running, biking, yoga, deep breathing or meditation. It could even be a hobby, such as painting or reading.
•  Limit alcohol and caffeine.
•  Quit smoking.
•  Ask your doctor about alternative medications.
•  Treat health issues that may be attributing to the condition.

If your dentist has suggested a night mouth guard, don't ignore the advice. Wearing a mouth guard can help to protect your teeth, your jaw and your overall oral health. Don't hesitate to contact our office for more information.


Call us today
(503) 765-7300
Nicholas Dose, DMD
601 1st Street Suite A
Lake Oswego, OR 97034-2370


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