Bruxism (teeth grinding) can cause moderate to severe long-term damage to teeth. Therefore, constant grinding wears down the surface of the tooth. This exposes the soft dentin beneath the enamel. This is why it’s important to protect your teeth while you sleep by wearing a bite guard or mouth guard. Bruxism can even cause a root fracture below the gum line. If this happens, you may require a root canal and crown to restore the damaged tooth.
Some damage that can occur includes:
- Chipped teeth
- Tooth flattening and tooth wear
- Cracked tooth enamel
- Cracked, loose or broken fillings
- Tooth loss
- Gum recession
- Tooth collapse
When it comes to protecting your mouth, a mouthguard is an essential piece of athletic gear. This should be part of your standard equipment from an early age. Collision and contact sports, such as boxing, are higher-risk sports for the mouth. You can also experience a dental injury in non-contact activities too, such as gymnastics and skating.
Three Types of Bite Guards
Custom-fitted: These are made specifically for you by your dentist. They may be more expensive than the other versions, but because they are customized, usually offer the best fit.
Stock: These are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. However, they often don’t fit well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.
Boil and bite: These mouth protectors can be bought at many sporting goods stores and drugstores. They may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They are first softened in water (boiled), then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth.
The best bite guard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist. However, if you can’t afford a custom-fitted one, you should still wear a stock bite guard. You can also purchase a boil-and-bite kind from the drugstore. Give us a call at (623) 633-7358 to learn more about your options. Read more about mouthguards.