Most of us grind or clench our teeth at some point due to an emotional outburst. But, Occasional teeth grinding or severe teeth grinding is a medical condition called Bruxism. This usually happens at night during sleep and is closely linked to mental stress or anxiety. Normally, teeth grinding do not cause harm. But, when it occurs on a regular basis the teeth can be damaged and other oral health complications can arise.

The Hard Bite Guard, also known as a dental mouth guard, is an appliance prescribed to you if you have severe teeth grinding (bruxism). This will protect your teeth and other vital structures in the mouth by offering a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth.

Most people who grind their teeth and clench their jaw aren’t aware they’re doing it. It often happens during sleep or while concentrating or under stress. It can also happen as a side effect of some medication you take. Sometimes, lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption, smoking, and use of recreational drugs and excess intake of caffeinated drinks can also add up to the cause.

Symptoms of Teeth Grinding

It doesn’t always cause symptoms but some people get facial pain and headaches, and it can wear down your teeth over time.

The symptoms of teeth grinding include:

  • Facial pain
  • Earache
  • Headaches
  • Broken teeth or fillings
  • Pain and stiffness in the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint) and surrounding muscles, which can lead to temporomandibular disorder (TMD)
  • Disrupted sleep (for you or your partner)
  • Worn-down teeth, which can lead to increased sensitivity and even tooth loss

Facial pain and headaches often disappear when you stop grinding your teeth. Tooth damage usually only occurs in severe cases and may need treatment.
Your dentist may suggest you put on a mouth (bite) guard before sleep. There are three main types of night guards that may be prescribed based on your need. They are soft, dual laminate or rigid acrylic (hard) night guard.

Why a Hard Bite Guard is suggested?

The hard custom teeth night guard is recommended for heavy to severe teeth grinding.  It protects your teeth and alleviates jaw muscle aches and pains due to teeth grinding.

Made from elasticized acrylic, a  clear and durable hard plastic material, the hard night guard is suitable for people who suffer for heavy to severe teeth grinding. It is available in approximately 2mm to 3mm thickness and can last from 2 to 5 years depending on the degree of teeth grinding.

This special thermoplastic material softens in warm water to facilitate fitting.  At body temperature, the material is slightly pliant and offers a comfortable fit. So before you start using a mouth guard, rinse it in hot water and then fit it over your teeth for a perfectly contoured fit.

The acrylic night guard is different from an acrylic bite splint. While a regular night guard protects against teeth grinding, the acrylic bite splint is prescribed to a patient to address a TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) dysfunction.  An acrylic bite splint should be obtained directly from the dentist.

Usage of Hard Bite Guard- Things to Remember

  • Since it may be used for such a long time, it is important to regularly clean and care for your acrylic guard.
  • Because the acrylic night guard is made from a completely rigid material, it is very important to get a perfectly fitted custom night guard.  If the impression is not accurate, or if the craftsmanship is not perfect, the night guard may simply not fit into your teeth. Therefore, it is very important that you consult a dentist for a recommendation.
  • If you’re suffering from TMJ or TMJ symptoms, ordering a night guard online is not recommended. Please consult your dentist directly.

Now, do you suspect teeth grinding? Talk to your dentist. He or she can examine your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism, such as jaw tenderness and excessive wear on your teeth.

For more information, see this page about Bruxism and TMJ.