Anybody at any age can potentially suffer from teeth grinding or clenching, otherwise known as bruxism. If you’ve ever experienced ear pain, severe headaches, neck pain, and you aren’t sure what’s causing it, you may be grinding your teeth while you sleep.
Bruxism is most commonly caused by anxiety, stress, pent-up frustrations, and misaligned teeth. In addition to the aforementioned symptoms, excessive grinding or clenching of the teeth can lead to temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems. Therefore, it is an issue that should be taken seriously. Thankfully, you can use a mouth guard for teeth grinding that should help alleviate these issues.
What is a Night Guard?
Transparent, thin, and horse-shoe shaped, night guards are made with strong but moldable plastics. The night guard can be used on either the upper or lower row of teeth, and acts as a cushion for reducing the impact of unconscious clenching or grinding. This can lead to a decrease in jaw joint inflammation, irritation to gums, and enamel damage. Most people who have used a night guard report that they feel less pain and therefore sleep better.
Our Recommendations for the Best Mouth Guard
Professional Dental Guard – Best Overall
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To prevent those mornings when you wake up with a sore jaw, pounding headache, and wounded tongue and lips, you need a reliable mouth guard. The Professional Dental Guards from Dental Duty will help protect you against that by molding to the shape of your teeth and adding a layer of protection for those nights of rough teeth grinding and clenching.
Making a mold of your teeth is easy. Simply boil a pot of water to a light simmer and place the mouth guard in to soften the moldable plastic. After waiting a few seconds to heat it up, and a few seconds after removing it from the heat to cool, you can bite down on the mouth guard and it will make a perfect mold of your teeth. You can cut it down further if you feel the guard is too bulky, or re-heat it for a second molding attempt.
The slim design of the Professional Mouth Guard allows you to talk more easily than other night guards allow. Furthermore, they are BPA-free for your safety and peace of mind.
The four teeth guards included in this package come in two sizes. This gives you some additional customization options or you can simply give one to a partner/spouse to use as well. The included case is anti-bacterial and can keep the guard clean and protected while you are traveling.
ProDental Mouth Guard – High End Choice
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This is the only night guard on the market that is backed by a dentist and boasts expert level design and quality. The three mouth guards included in this package can all be molded perfectly to your teeth and are FDA approved. The polyvinyl material used in its construction are long-lasting, odor-resistant, and soft on the teeth and gums.
In addition to using this for grinding or clenching while sleeping, it can also double as a guard for rigorous sports activities. Furthermore, the ProDental guards are BPA and latex free and the company provides excellent support with an actual dentist on staff to answer your questions.
If you want heavy-duty protection, then the thick 3mm base is more than durable enough to give you the cushion and shock absorbing protection you need. The fit of the ProDental guard is so snug that it “locks” securely in place so that it won’t fall out when sleeping. Lastly, the 30-day guarantee means you can try it out and return it within a month for a full refund, no questions asked.
DentalCare Labs Moldable Dental Guard – Most Affordable Option
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This one-size fits all mouth guard can be custom-fitted to any set of teeth. Whether you are a man, woman, or child, the moldable mouth guard can be trimmed and easily shaped to fit your needs. This 4-pack has two different sizes for more customization to ensure you have the most optimal fit.
Wearing the DentalCare Labs mouth guard is easy and reliable. The product is made from BPA and latex free plastics that are durable and can provide you with adequate protection. When not in use, the provided storage case is easy to clean, hygienic, and anti-bacterial and will keep your night guard secure as you travel. DentalCare Labs’ offers you a money back guarantee in the event you are not satisfied with their product.
What to Look for in a Mouth Guard?
There are certain features you need to look for to ensure you have a quality mouth guard. You want to make sure you are not only getting your money’s worth, but that you are actually protected as well. Here are some crucial features:
- Stays in place
- Allows for speech
- Does not restrict breathing
- Easy to clean
- Fits comfortably
- Tear resistant
- Tasteless and odorless
Benefits of Using a Night Guard
There are numerous advantages to wearing a mouth guard for sleeping. First, they can prevent you from wearing down or damaging your teeth. By having a barrier between your upper and lower row of teeth, you can literally rest assured knowing you are protected. There are three main types of night guards on the market, and each are suited for specific jobs. We list them below and provide a summary of each type.
- Stock Mouth Guard: These mouth guards are ready to wear and do not need to be adjusted. They are cheap and can be bought over-the-counter. Since they come preformed, you may not always get the best fit. They may be too bulky or too small and uncomfortable to wear. These types of mouth guards are not recommended by dentists for those who clench or grind their teeth at night.
- Boil and Bite Night Guards: These are an upgrade over the generic stock mouth guards. They are made of thermoplastic material that you can boil to soften, allowing you to make an imprint of your teeth into the plastic so the fit is more customized.
- Custom Fitted Mouth Guards: Finally, these are the best kind of mouth guard you can get, but also the most expensive. You will need to see your dentist and ask him to fit you with one. If you have the money to spare, then this is the best option, however over-the-counter varieties may do the job as well if you are willing to do some DIY.
What Type of Mouth Guard is the Best?
Each night guard has variations in material, thickness, and fit. Depending on your issue, these factors can impact which mouth guard you should use.
- Severe Bruxism: Those of you who have a severe case of grinding or clenching, you need to get the thickest, most durable mouth guard available. Specific guards designed for protection against bruxism can last anywhere from 2-5 years depending on maintenance. They are typically made from 2-3 mm rigid acrylic. Of all the mouth guards available, these are the most expensive but also the best way to protect your teeth when you have an extreme case of bruxism.
- Moderate Bruxism: Those with less severe issues can consider the hybrid mouth guard. They have a thickness of 2-3 mm, but the inside layer is soft enough to provide cushioning for your teeth. The outer layer is a stronger, rigid plastic that makes it sturdy enough to sustain moderate clenching or grinding, and providing enamel protection.
- Light Bruxism: For those whose bruxism isn’t as severe, you can use a light mouth guard which is made from a soft rubber and can last anywhere from 6 months to two years before needing a replacement.
- Daytime Bruxism: Some people clench or grind their teeth unconsciously even while they are awake. If you suffer from this symptom, then you may need a daytime mouth guard that is transparent, discreet, and lightweight. Typically, this guard is only 1-1 ½ mm thick, and should be flexible enough to allow for speech while still offering protection. Daytime mouth guards can last anywhere from 6-24 months.
Fitting a Night Guard
The fit of your mouth guard is important, as it determines not only how comfortable you feel but how effective it is at protecting your teeth against clenching or grinding. You will want one that fits out of the box or can be molded perfectly against your teeth. We cover the steps of how to do this below:
- Place the mouth guard in your mouth and close your mouth normally. The purpose of this is to determine the most comfortable position for the guard before you mold it against your teeth. Don’t worry if there is some excess plastic, as these can be trimmed off later.
- Boil some water until it is lightly simmering.
- Completely submerge the night guard in the water for at least 1 minute.
- Remove the night guard from the water and shake off any excess water. Wait for at least 15-20 seconds so it can cool slightly, before biting down firmly on the softened plastic and holding that position for another 20 seconds.
- Take off the guard and run it through cold water to set the mouth guard’s shape. Congratulations, you have just made yourself a night guard molded perfectly to the shape of your teeth.
Your teeth and health may be at risk if you suffer clench or grind your teeth at night. Bruxism is a cause of tooth pain and erosion, in addition to numerous health issues that negatively impact one’s health. Jaw pain, headaches, tooth damage, and poor sleep are only some of the issues you might experience. You will need some protection so that you can sleep soundly at night.
High-quality mouth guards can not only protect you, but they should also feel comfortable and last a long time. You can save money and time if you purchase the best night guard from online stores, as long as you did your research and it is well-reviewed.
After reading this overview, hopefully you have a better understanding of how to select the best mouth guards for you. Based on the tips covered in this guide, make sure that the material is durable, the fit is comfortable, and that it can last a long time.