What is Bruxism?
The problem of “bruxing the teeth” is a long-known, quite well researched, yet is not clearly understood and explained. This is the condition when the person progressively loses the tooth structure over “overusing” his or her own teeth while the “use” of the teeth is not related to actually chewing the food.
The problem usually exists in two major flavors – clenching and grinding.
- Clenching – the person would close the teeth in the most comfortable position (which is a point when all of the teeth are touching simultaneously). After the contact is made, various degree of the muscle work is applied. The teeth remain in one position without moving forward or sideways. More then 70 percent of the people who clench their teeth, are not aware of the fact of clenching. The remaining 20+ percent report the symptoms related to muscle tenderness, headache and hypersensitive teeth.
- Grinding – unlike clenching, the person does not keep the teeth in one position. Instead, the person constantly grinds the teeth to the sides, back and forth and arouind the centric position. Once surfaces of the teeth are worn to accommodate individual movements, it is extremely difficult to do any restoration on the patient like that because they get mechanically destroyed and knocked out. Most of the people who grind their teeth are aware of the problem, or at least have been told in the past that they grind the teeth. They may or may not present with the pain in the jaw, but likely they are not surprised to be diagnosed with grinding the teeth.
Since grinding and/or clenching the teeth causes the tooth structure loss, the solution that gives the good result would be to regenerate the lost height and prevent the teeth from engaging into destructive interference.
This is achieved with fabricating a lightweight custom-made clear acrylic appliance that is called bite guard or night guard that would fit over the teeth on either the top or bottom arch and accommodate to the opposing arch shape providing a comfortable rest.
Bite guards (night guards, occlusal appliances)
Nightguards achieved their name from the fact that the patients are always asked to wear the appliance overnight. In a real life, you may (and should) use it during the day time in any situation when you believe you are clenching or grinding your teeth.
The biteguards can be made from the different materials and even different colors. They are also adjustable appliances, meaning that you should bring it back to your dentist for adjustment if you feel any discomfort using it.
Materials. The most common, economic and functional is acrylic. It resists wear and does not change color over the time. There are also soft layer and thermoplastic modifiers, that will drive your out-of-pocket cost up without providing significant benefits.
The process of getting the biteguard:
- Your dentist takes molds of your teeth and a records of jaw relationships
- The dental lab makes casts and simulate their 3D position using those records. The lab then injects the liquid acrylic into that space and finishes forming the tray upon acrylic set-up.
- The dentist delivers the biteguard into your mouth about 2 weeks later and makes all initial adjustments.
- You make a follow up vist a week or two later, where the dentist may do some more adjustments, based on your comments
Care for the biteguard
Brush your teeth with a toothpaste, floss and rinse your mouth as usually. Brush your biteguard with a minute amounts of soap and rinse well. Apply the biteguard on your teeth. When removing a biteguard, brish it with thew soap, rinse and stow away into the hard container.
- Do brush using the toothbrush, inside and outside
- Do use water, lots of water, so you don’t end up tasting the soap
- Do always keep the biteguard either on your teeth or in the hard protective container.
- Do wear it every night even if you believe you clench just once in awhile.
- Do label the guard or the box when you travel
- Do not immerse it in bleach or bleach containing solutions. This is particularly importance for soft-layered guard appliances. This will permanently damage them.
- Do not expose them to heat. This will permanently damage them.
- Do not keep them into your pocket
- Do not keep them where your dog may reach them
Top reasons of the biteguard needs to be re-done
- “I lost it in the hotel room. I called 15 mins later after checkout, the owner said they already cleaned the room and the maid did not report anything found”. The maid just threw $XXX into the trash! Yup!
- “My dog chewed on it” Seriously? Absolutely!!! I had a patient remaking his nightguard 3 times within 6 months because his girlfriend’s dog chewed on it thinking it’s a toy
- “I was in rush, put it in my pocket. When I took it out, it were two pieces”.
We warranty all our biteguards against any defects for 6 months.