A mouthguard is a plastic mold of your teeth that is worn over the teeth and gums when you sleep to prevent any grinding or clenching of the jaw (known as Bruxism) or to help straighten your teeth out. Mouthguards are also useful for keeping teeth in place after they have been straightened.
What are the Benefits?
Mouthguards have several benefits. The biggest benefit for those who have had braces is that the mouth guard will prevent teeth from any natural shifting that can occur once the braces have been taken off.
For those who have issues with grinding their teeth and clenching their jaws at night, a mouth guard is a great way to protect your teeth from becoming worn down. This will prevent your teeth from becoming uncomfortable and sensitive, as well as preventing the possibility of tooth loss from the trauma and damage over time. It also stops your teeth and any fillings from becoming broken and protects the enamel on your teeth, which lowers your risk of developing cavities.
The benefits of wearing a mouth guard to prevent you from grinding your teeth go beyond just protecting your teeth. People who clench their jaws and grind their teeth in the night tend to wake up with facial soreness and an aching jaw due to the stress the muscles go through. This pain can make eating, yawning, and laughing, among other things, very uncomfortable to do because they require the facial muscles to work.
Headaches as soon as you wake up can also occur after a night of grinding teeth because of how the jaw consumes pressure. These headaches will similarly interrupt your day, so it’s best to wear a mouthguard and kick the teeth grinding habit.
Who are Mouth Guards For?
Mouthguards are most commonly used by people who have had their braces removed and want to retain their newly straightened teeth. The mouth guard (also called a retainer in this case) should be worn every night to keep the teeth straight by preventing them from shifting back into their original positions.
Those who are seeing the shape and appearance of their teeth suffer due to grinding and clenching will also greatly benefit from a mouth guard because it protects the teeth from the habit. If you do grind your teeth, then you can combine wearing a mouth guard with doing some gentle facial exercises to help relax your jaw. You can also massage your jaw or treat it with a hot flannel to help release some stress. This will help to discourage you from clenching your jaw, which will, in turn, stop you from grinding your teeth as much because that will slowly but surely wear down your mouthguard and you’ll have to get a new one.
Some people with sleep apnea may also benefit from wearing a mouthguard. Though the traditional mouth guard simply covers your teeth and gums, you can get mandibular repositioning mouthpieces that look like sports mouth guards and will keep your jaw in position all night, preventing it from shifting and blocking the upper airway. There are also tongue retaining mouth guards that hold the tongue forwards and also prevent it from blocking the airway.
Ultimately, a dentist Midlothian VA will be able to advise you on whether or not you should wear a mouth guard, but you should greatly consider it if you suffer from Bruxism, or if you are looking to straighten our your teeth or keep newly straightened teeth in position.