A mouthguard is a dental appliance used to keep the top and bottom teeth separated by providing a barrier between them. When patients clench their jaw, the mouthguard lessens the tension, providing a cushion to the jaw muscles. Wearing one every night can alleviate jaw, tooth, and face pain all while protecting tooth enamel from excessive wear and erosion.
Our staff at O'Sullivan, DeLuca & Ressel Dental Care can discuss the available mouthguard options. After taking measurements, we can custom make your mouthguard. Get in touch with us to schedule an appointment.
Bruxism is the dental term for the forceful clenching of the jaw and/or grinding teeth. A properly designed mouthguard will not overwhelm the entire upper jaw. It simply keeps the teeth apart to protect further destruction of tooth enamel.
Mouthguards help combat a variety of symptoms. Some patients can have jaw soreness, temporomandibular joint point (TMJ) pain, headaches, difficulty staying asleep, or pain in random areas of the mouth with no idea what the true cause is. Grinding has also been known to cause migraines and pain in areas most patients would never consider. These include the neck, back, and ears. Some patients even contact an ear, nose, and throat specialist for help when the real reason they are having those symptoms is because they grind their teeth at night.
Who Needs a Mouthguard?
Those patients who grind their teeth while they sleep definitely need to wear a mouthguard at night. Some grind their teeth every night, while others only do it during stressful times. Many may already have started to show symptoms and complain of pain and soreness in their jaw or teeth. These may be signs that erosion and damage have already begun.
Reasons for a Mouthguard
When a patient’s teeth move back and forth against each other, it wears down the enamel to the point of possibly permanently damaging the tooth. Worn enamel from grinding can cause hypersensitivity to both cold and hot temperatures because the normal layer of protection is far thinner than it should be. Grinding can also cause cracks in teeth, and, if left untreated, can result in receding gums and even tooth loss, requiring expensive and invasive dental surgeries to fix the problems.
To combat the damage caused by grinding, patients oftentimes require crowns to be put over the affected tooth as protection. If the wear is bad enough, root canals may be necessary as well.
There are three types of mouthguards, each offering various levels of relief. There is some variance in cost too. There is a 'stock' mouthguard, 'boil and bite' mouthguard, and one that is custom fitted, which we can provide in our office. Our team can offer any of these solutions for our patients and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Patients who have pain or discomfort after wearing their mouthguard overnight are likely using one which is not properly fitted to their mouth. This means the device is not protecting their teeth the way it was designed to.
Our team at O'Sullivan, DeLuca & Ressel Dental Care can help you decide on the correct mouthguard for you. Call (352) 666-9898 or visit us to schedule an appointment.