Why Use a Mouth Guard?
The purpose of a sports guard is to act as a shock absorber in the mouth to protect the teeth from excessive forces. The mouth guard also protects your head and brain from concussion if the blow is onto the lower jaw.
Teeth grinding and clenching often occur at night, while patients are sleeping; therefore, many patients don't seek diagnosis. Common symptoms of teeth grinding include waking up with a headache, the feeling of tenderness or pain in the jaw, or unexplained damage to teeth. In addition, your partner may complain of clicking or chattering noises that you make when you sleep.
Grinding and clenching during sleep can generate forces in excess of 200 pounds, and over time, can lead to damage of the tooth enamel and other oral health problems. If untreated, teeth grinding can result in permanent tooth and oral damage that require surgery or other expensive treatments. While reducing stress or home remedies may be effective treatments for minor cases of teeth grinding, most patients who suffer from habitual teeth grinding require a custom mouth guard to prevent serious, long term damage.
Please note: that there is a significant difference between a sports mouth guard, and a dental night guard or grinding appliance. The dental night guards are made of much harder plastic and fit only over the chewing edges of the teeth.