If you find it impossible to get a good night’s sleep, it could be something more than restlessness. You might be grinding or clenching your teeth at night. How do you know? Symptoms including waking up with a headache, an earache, or a sore jaw or neck.
If you do have sleep bruxism, you might benefit from a night mouth guard. Teeth clenching and grinding can damage your temporomandibular joints (also called TMJ). These joints are located on the side of your head and work with your jaw muscles to allow you to open and close your mouth. They also help you to chew, talk, swallow, and move your jaw from side to side. If this sounds like something you suffer from, your dentist can help.
A night mouth guard is one solution. There are many shapes, materials, and colors to choose from, but here are a few options:
• Get a night guard custom-fitted for your mouth. Your dentist can make you a mouth guard that fits your mouth perfectly. Over-the-counter mouth guards don’t fit as well and can become dislodged during grinding.
• Wear a guard that fits completely over your upper teeth or lower teeth. These mouth guards are more likely to stay in place.
• Choose a hard acrylic mouth guard over a soft one. Hard mouth guards are more durable and are less likely to break down than soft mouth guards.
• Talk to your dentist about other sleep disorders. If you have sleep apnea, a mouth guard isn’t recommended because it could make the problem worse.
Give your teeth a rest. Don’t forget to wear your mouth guard regularly and follow your dentist’s instructions. If you do, you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to start the day!