Mouthguards have significant use in sports; they protect one’s teeth and jaws from traumatic injuries and help prevent long-term conditions. Typically, most mouthguards are made of inexpensive plastic or impression materials that mold to the form of one’s teeth, such as boil-in-bites. However, mouth guards have more uses beyond sports. For people who suffer from sleep apnea, bruxism, or TMJ disorder may need to wear mouth guards to protect their teeth and jaw during sleep. Dentists can design mouth guards to be custom-fitted, ranging in various materials to suit their patients’ needs. But how beneficial are they? Well, we say they have plenty of benefits.
- Prevent Tooth Damage – Mouthguards ensure that both the top teeth and bottom teeth have no contact during activities such as sleeping and sports. For those with bruxism, severe forms of teeth grinding can cause the loss of enamel and lead to tooth loss. When sleeping, most people aren’t aware of their teeth grinding, only to discover the morning after that their teeth feel more sensitive and their gums are sore.
- Reduces symptoms of TMJ disorder – One of the biggest signs of TMJ disorder is a clenched jaw during sleep. When the jaw isn’t aligned correctly and experiences pain, the jaw joint that controls the lower jaw can cause sleep problems. Mouthguards can reduce this jaw tension and pain, and can improve sleep, allowing you to manage your TMJ symptoms better.
- Prevent Tension Headaches – If you suffer from tension headaches, and over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen don’t help, mouth guards can help relieve that tension. Excessive grinding and clenching can cause muscle fatigue, jaw aches, neck pain, and earaches; mouth guards can align the teeth to prevent the onset of headaches by keeping the teeth just separated enough during sleep.
- Prevent Snoring During Sleep – One of the biggest signs of sleep apnea is snoring at night, combine that with excessive tiredness and a lack of energy, and it can create problems with focus, motivation, and breathing if not taken into account. Mouthguards can help open the airway in the mouth and throat by shifting the jaw back into position, and thus, it can increase the amount of air taken in a while sleeping, thus giving people better sleep.
- Help Save Money – For those who have bruxism, the damage done by teeth grinding can be costly, because once the teeth lose their enamel, it’s gone forever. Catching it in its early phases can help prevent the need for restorative measures. Those with mild sleep apnea can prevent the need for a CPAP machine, and those with TMJ disorder can have more power in managing its symptoms. Overall, mouth guards can solve many situations, and save money for where it’s needed most.
If you have been experiencing tooth and jaw problems during sleep, then contact Dr. Raj – Shikha Batra at Troy Dental Studio, located in Troy, MI, to schedule a consultation.