How do I Choose the Best Bruxism Guard?

Lori Smith

When choosing a bruxism guard, or night guard, it is important to select one that will comfortably fit in your mouth. A custom piece can be obtained by visiting your dentist to have a mold made of your teeth. There are also several over-the-counter options, some of which are ready to use straight out the package, while others require a little effort to prepare. Depending on the type of bruxism guard you choose, the price may vary greatly, from approximately $20 US Dollars (USD) to more than $400 USD. Your budget will likely influence the type of dental appliance you select.

A splint may be worn at night to prevent damage to teeth for people with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and bruxism.
A splint may be worn at night to prevent damage to teeth for people with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) and bruxism.

A popular choice is a bruxism guard that is customized by a dentist. If you choose this type, a mold will be taken of your teeth and then the dentist will usually send the impressions to a lab where a tailored mouth-piece will be created for you. After your initial visit, it is usually ready within a few weeks. It is often considered one of the best alternatives because it offers the most customized fit for your mouth. The downside, however, is that it is also one of the most expensive options. The cost usually exceeds a few hundred US Dollars.

Dentists make impressions of the teeth to fit crowns and bridges and create night guards.
Dentists make impressions of the teeth to fit crowns and bridges and create night guards.

If you are looking for a less costly alternative, an over-the-counter bruxism guard may work well for you. Most varieties require that you boil the plastic mouthpiece to soften the material, and then place it in your mouth to mold the plastic to the shape of your teeth. It may take a few tries to get this right, and many brands can be boiled and fitted more than once. Other types of mouth guards do not require custom fitting, so this option might be great for you if you have trouble with the other method.

You should complete any dental work before investing in a bruxism guard to ensure the best fit, especially if you decide to purchase the more expensive variety. Even slight changes to your teeth can affect the comfort and fit of the night guard. For example, if you are having dental work done — such as a bridge or crown — the appliance may not work properly after the procedure, and you may find it uncomfortable to wear. In other words, even small changes to the shape of your teeth can make a difference in the way it fits.

Regardless of the method you choose, regular use of a night guard is often successful in easing any temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) symptoms caused by nighttime teeth grinding. The most common complaints of TMJ are popping and clicking while eating, headaches, and jaw pain. Additionally, the act of grinding your teeth can wear away protective enamel. If you are experiencing these or similar symptoms, a bruxism guard may provide notable relief.

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