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How Mouthguards Protect Teeth from Grinding and Clenching

holding-up-clear-mouthguard-sqIf you are someone who grinds or clenches their teeth and jaw at nighttime or even during the day, you know it can cause everything from mild headaches to permanent damage to your pearly whites.

The good news is mouthguards, which you may also know as dental splints or occlusal splints, work by providing a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth to help prevent damage caused by teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism).

It not only saves your teeth, but is a great long-term investment, saving you from expensive dental work in the future.

How Do They Work?

They are custom-fitted oral devices made of durable materials like soft plastic or hard acrylic, and they serve several functions to protect the teeth. Mouthguards are designed to absorb the excessive forces generated during teeth grinding and clenching. By doing so, they act as shock absorbers, distributing the pressure across the entire mouthguard and minimising the impact on the teeth.

They also prevent wear and tear on your teeth. The constant friction between teeth during clenching can lead to tooth wear, such as enamel erosion, chipping, and flattening of the tooth surfaces. Mouthguards provide a protective barrier, preventing direct contact between the upper and lower teeth and thus reducing the risk of wear and damage.

Mouthguards can help relax the jaw muscles by promoting a more open and relaxed jaw position. This can reduce muscle tension and discomfort associated with bruxism. They also protect the investments you’ve already made in your smile through dental restorations like fillings, crowns, and bridges that are vulnerable to damage from teeth grinding.

Mouthguards for TMJ Disorders

When you use a mouthguard, you will also be preventing jaw joint strain. Bruxism can strain the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) and lead to TMJ disorders. Mouthguards help by promoting a more neutral jaw position, which can alleviate stress on the jaw joints.

It will also work to alleviate headaches and facial pain by reducing the intensity of teeth grinding and clenching. You may find you’re able to sleep more deeply as well, as wearing a mouthguard reduces the disruptive noise associated with teeth grinding, benefiting not only the person wearing the guard but also their sleep partner.

Finding Your Proper Fit

Mouthguards are typically custom fit to ensure a comfortable and secure fit, allowing for minimal interference with speaking and breathing. Dentists or dental specialists take impressions of the patient’s teeth to create a personalised mouthguard that fits snugly over the upper or lower teeth. Proper maintenance and cleaning of the mouthguard are essential to ensure its long-term effectiveness and hygiene.

And, it’s also important to remind our Noosa patients that mouthguards don’t address the core problem causing your clenching and grinding. Though they offer protection against dental damage, addressing the root causes of bruxism may require additional treatment approaches, such as stress management techniques or orthodontic correction for malocclusion.

Stop Your Grinding and Clenching Today!

If you think you may need a mouthguard, contact our office to set up an appointment to discuss your particular dental situation. We’ll be able to offer you solutions to protect your smile and reduce any discomfort you are feeling!


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