Night Mouth Guard
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Night Mouth Guard
Both my husband and I suffer from clenching our jaws and
teeth grinding at night. I realize that this problem is
2-fold: One is we need to undo the habit (which is really
difficult!), and two is we need to protect our teeth/gums in
the meantime. Our dentist has said he can make 1 custom
mouth guard for $800 (!). This seems like an outrageous
amount of money for a piece of plastic (even if it is
molded to our teeth). So, my questions are these:
(1) Has anyone gotten a custom mouth/teeth guard made for
less, and if so, would they recommend it and their dentist?
(2) Has anyone had luck with an over-the-counter mouth
guard? If so - Which brand?
(3) Has anyone found successful ways to ''meditate'' to kick
the habit of clenching/grinding teeth while sleeping?
Any advice appreciated, even if it's to go buy the $800 guard!
I am a long-term grinder and just before I had a mouth guard made, someone
suggested that I take a calcium/magnesium supplement at bedtime. It
absolutely helps-- I start right up again when I run out of supplements, but
it's helping my teeth and certainly not hurting me to have some extra calcium.
I'd say to give this a try-- it is cheap and low-impact. grinder
I've been using a mouth guard for over 25 years, and the
cost has always been about $400. And it's light and flexible
and fits my upper teeth like a glove. I'd get another quote. Anon
$800. sounds ridiculous! I've tried the guards in the
drugstores but they didn't work for me. My dentist (Joan
Seet) made me a guard for much less a number of years ago. sleeping better
My husband and I have had success with over-the-counter guards we bought at
CVS (something like $22 for two?). You form the guard to your mouth using hot
water. It was pretty easy, and worked like a charm. Our wonderful dentist
pointed us in that direction. Good luck!
I've suffered from grinding my teeth for years, and my dentist encouraged me
to get a custom-made guard for around $300, about a year ago. I decided to go
for it, and at first didn't wear it much (with much scolding from my dentist).
Since my last check up in Sept, I've been wearing it every night. The neat
thing about it is that it actually helps relax your jaw, ( not sure if that's
an intentional part of the design), which helps me to sleep a bit better. I
still grind, that's for sure, but at least I have something to protect my
teeth! My dentist is in San Francisco - Dr. Madill, and he's fantastic. Good
I purchase an over the counter Doctors brand night guard from Amazon. It cost
about $20 including shipping. You ''customize'' it by boiling it and molding
it to your teeth. I have been using it for about 1 month and I feel much
better. I was having sensitivity from all of the grinding. The sensitivity
is pretty much gone. I recommend that you try this less-expensive option
I know just where you're coming from with the teeth grinding
and painful TMJ symptoms. I have has this problem for
several years and it recently got so bad I had to have a
procedure done where they replaced the fluid in my jaw
joint. Previously, I did use an over the counter mouth guard
mold which gave me some relief. I did eventually get my
dentist to make one and my insurance paid for it, though it
was expensive. But it makes a huge difference, and while I
was healing from my procedure I wore it during the day. I
sometimes do that when I am stressed just to protect my
teeth and jaw. You are smart to be concerned and take action
and I would try the over the counter type to see if you like
it. Just follow the directions carefully and it should work
well. Twenty bucks sure beats eight hundred! It all just
depends on how advanced your deterioration is and if you are
able to get a guard that fits. (My jaw still sounds like
breaking a fistful of dry spaghetti every time I open my
mouth, but it is better than the loud popping I used to
hear, and the immense pain is gone!)The first one I had was
the kind you boil. It didn't work as well as the other
kinds. Just be sure that if there is some overflow of the
material onto the roof of the mouth area that it sits
comfortably, otherwise you will get irritated in that spot.
Best of luck! email me if you have more questions.
$800 IS outrageous. I've had a custom made night guard and
it cost more in the range of $200-300. I wouldn't pay more
than that. However, I lost that one and have been using an
over-the-conter Doctor's Night Guard which seems to work
just fine and cost about $30 (think you can print a coupon
off the internet). Good luck.
I have had the same nighttime mouthguard for over 5 years
and it's time for a replacement as it is worn through and
cracked. 5 years ago I paid $300 for the guard in
Boston. Now, I was quoted over $500 for a dentist in
Oakland. My normal dentist in SF charges over $800.
Can anyone recommend a dentist who has made a nighttime
mouthguard for you? After searching the BPN archives, I
tried a sports mouthguard but it is not something I want
in my mouth 8 hours/night. I'm hoping to keep costs down
but keep the quality so it will last me years.
Dr. Noushin Pirnazar, on Piedmont Ave, is an excellent
dentist. I also use a nighttime mouth guard and got mine
from her. I've had it a few years, and it's still in great
shape. I think it cost around $350.
Dr David Fong did a great job for my husband and I. Tons of
dental work, and mouth guards for us both.
He is in downtown Oakland - 16th and Franklin. Fabulous
510-452-1156 Tell them Jewel sent ya!
My dentist, Dr. Joel Boriskin, made my night guard and I have had it for years
with no problems. I do quite a bit of grinding at night and this night guard is
comfortable and they clean it every time I go in for a cleaning. Here is info on
the office: Dr. Joel Boriskin (I only see him, not the other dentist)
1502 Walnut Street (near Peet's) Berkeley 510-843-1441
I occasionally clench/grind my teeth in my sleep and after pricing a nightguard
with my dentist, went straight to Longs (now CVS) and bought one. It was a
mold to fit - stick it in boiling water then fit to mouth. I used an Xacto knife to
trim the thick edge. I have used it successfully for several years. Since then I
have noticed that there are several more kinds now available over the counter. I
would suggest spending a few buck ($25, 30) and test drive some of these
before you spend the big bucks on a custom guard. Good luck.
I wear a night guard to help with my apnea. I spent $300
many years ago for one from a dentist and then ended up
using $30 ones that I get on line. I notice that someone
suggested a local pharmacy to get one to mold yourself. You
might want to try that unless you have good insurance.
My last night guard felt bulky, and although it protected my
teeth, I felt like I was working it over with my teeth all
night and would wake with a sore jaw. It recently broke, so I'd
like to replace it with a super-slim, super comfy & well-fitted
one. I'm also looking for a dentist who will spend time helping
me find the right bite/jaw alignment before I imprint the night
guard. I don't think my dentist is the one to see for this, and
since I must pay out of pocket for the guard anyway, I might as
well go to the best. Can you recommend your dentist for a night
I'm a grinder and I love my nightguard. It is tiny (1 inch x
3/4 inches-seriously) and fits over the bottom two front teeth.
It works great without the bulk of traditional mouthguards. The
dentist that fitted it is in Downtown SF. Bradley Shepard. Good
I love my nightguard. First I was grinding my teeth which
developed into snoring. That ended up being diagnosed as
obstructive sleep apnea. I didn't have lapses in breathing that
my partner could tell but the snoring kept us apart at
night....I found out from the sleep study that my sleep was
disrupted several times an hour! So, no wonder I felt
exhausted, felt like I never was fully rested in am....I
thought it was just stress. Nightguard made a difference
IMMEDIATELY. Takes time and visits to get the fit right but
Michael Alvarez, DDS is specialist is sleep disorders. He
customizes nightguards after the initial mold is taken. He's a
scientist and loves his work besides he and his staff are
sooooo nice. Also, they work w/ your insurance, even Kaiser and
HMO's. Find the book ''Snore No More!'' by James Mosley- kind of
corny but true.
Unfortunately, he's in Fremont but the commute is worth it to
My dentist has recommended I use a Night Guard because I grind my
teeth. I'm curious as to the difference between the store bought
ones and the custom fitted ones from the dentist.
- Do the store bought ones not fit as well? Are they uncomfortable?
- Do they not work as well?
- Any other pros or cons of either one? Would you recommend/not
recommend either one?
Wearing down my teeth
My dentist made night guard has saved my teeth (and my husband's
ears)! I just had this conversation with a few friends and the
two of them that had used store bought night guards had no
success with their TMJ and found them very uncomfortable. Mine
is tiny and snaps onto my bottom teeth - I don't even know I'm
wearing it. It was worth the cost of having the dentist make me
mine (and it's lasted 3 years so far with no sign of giving out
Definitely - if you are grinding your teeth, you need a night
guard. Don't put it off!
The drugstore version and the one you get from the dentist are
really very different. The kind you can buy at a drugstore is
kind of squishy, gummy, like firm rubber, and much thicker. The
dentist kind is like hard plastic, lasts longer, and doesn't
take up as much space in your mouth (so it doesn't make you
slobber as much).
I'd recommend getting one from your dentist. Some dental plans
cover it as preventive care, and it is going to fit your teeth
better - less likely to cause problems. The first couple of
nights you may find it awkward, but you get used to it fast.
I've had one for 12 years now, my husband wears one too, and so
do my sister and my dad.
Night guard saved my teeth!
I'm a registered dental hygienist who works in an office that
recommends nightguards to patients who grind or clench. I
personally wear a custom-made one. Often times our dentists
will recommend them to patients, but the patient's insurance
does not cover it. (They can cost several hundred dollars.)
Some patients are not willing to pay out-of-pocket. In those
situations, the dentists will suggest the patient get a ''boil
and bite'' nightguard for about $30 at the drugstores, or a
sportsguard from the sporting goods stores. They usually don't
fit as well. Some patients can cope well, others don't. Also,
some patients will opt to get a custom-made NG, spend several
hundreds of dollars, then rarely wear them because they can
never get use to wearing something in their mouths while
sleeping. (Patients who've worn retainers usually do better.)
In that case, I would suggest buying an OTC nightguard first to
see if you can manage sleeping with it in your mouth. The
custom-made ones are usually not as intrusive. I've worn an NG
for several years to help with clenching and TMJ problems. It
only took me a couple of nights to get use to it...of course, I
wore braces and retainers in my youth. Good luck.
I bought a drug store night-guard for teeth grinding on the
recommendation of my dentist (she said the dentist-made ones are
too expensive) but it was a total waste of money. I tried a
couple of times, but found them impossible to fit properly and
therefore - too uncomfortable to wear. I have one in an unopened
box that you are welcome to take for free - I hate to throw it
I would definitely advise you to save your money and get a cheap
night-guard from a drug store or Sports Shop.
I too was advised by my dentist to get a guard because of teeth-
grinding. Well, the custom-fitted contraption from the dentist
office cost around $800(!) and was not covered by my dental
insurance. Moreover, the thing never really fit very
comfortably (though any guard will take some getting used to, I
I used the $800 night-guard for about 18 months. Then, the
family dog somehow got hold of it and chewed it to pieces. I
was not about to pay another $800 for a new one, so on the
advice of a friend I got a ''mouth guard'' at a sporting goods
shop -- the kind kids use for sports like hockey or football so
their teeth wont get knocked out.
The guard from the sporting goods store cost less than $2 --
seriously. You heat it up in a pot of boiling water and then,
while it's soft, fit it to your teeth. The $2 guard is
infinitely more comfortable than the $800, and it definitely
works just as good in terms of preventing tooth grinding (I
think it may even be better in my case because it's so much more
comfortable: I feel like my jaw is in a better position when I
Try a $2 mouth guard from a Sporting Goods shop.
I sometimes grind my teeth in my sleep. Years ago I bought a
nightguard at Longs - about $25. To fit it initially, you boil it in water and
shape it to your mouth. I found I also had to use a utility or Exacto knife
to shave off the bulky corners but it fits fine. I helped my mom fit one for
herself a couple of years ago with good results.
Since most of your responses seem to be recommendations for the expensive
dentist kind, I'd like to put in a word for the cheapie sporting goods kind.
When my dentist recommended that I start wearing a night guard years ago, I
didn't- I stupidly didn't really believe him. He said, and he's a high-end
it didn't matter if I got an expensive custom one or a cheapie in terms of
effectiveness, and said to try the cheapie first.
After I had to get a very expensive crown because of a cracked tooth from
I beleived him, got a cheapie, and have worn it almost every night for the
years. I actually LIKE the way it feels (!), it cost about $3. at Mary and
goods on San Pable near Solano, and I just replace it about once a year when
stained and starts to look yukky.
At my last dentist visit I was told that I grind my teeth. I didn't
know that since I am doing it when I sleep. I have a lot of
small cracks and he said it would get worth if I would't wear
a mouthguard. Strangly, my insurance doesn't pay for it even
though the damage it does to my teeth will cost much more
in repair. I have to save money for it first which will take a
while. In the meantime I could wear a mouthguard which I've
seen at Wallgreens and advertised on TV. I just don't know
if they are any good ? Did anybody wear a mouthgard from a
drug store ?
I use a cheap (about $3.) mouthguard that I got at a sporting goods
store (I happen to go to Mary and Joe's on San Pablo in Albany), and I
am very happy with it- it actually feels good to me. I have cracked 2
teeth from grinding, one in the back had to be pulled, and another up
front had to be crowned (many $). I asked my dentist about the custom
made ones, and she said that there was absolutely no reason to get one
if I was happy with the cheapie.
If you are grinding your teeth in your sleep, then you just need
to learn to sleep without grinding your teeth. An easy way to
do this is to teach yourself to keep your tongue between your
teeth when you are asleep--you will wake yourself up the first
time you chomp down! ! ; You may bite your tongue a few times while
you are learning, but you'll learn fast, too. You might also
check that your side teeth are resting or hanging apart during
the day, because keeping them closed all day will make your jaw
tense for sure. Unlike the sets of teeth you see on the
dentist's shelf, the side teeth shouldn't touch unless you are
chewing (some people say swallowing, too, but lots of people
don't touch their teeth together when they swallow). There is
lots of practical information available about things to avoid if
you are in the habit of tensing your jaw--sleeping on your side,
crunching on hard foods, on and on--a library or internet search
should do the trick. Also, as voice therapists are generally
aware, any good singing or voice and speech teacher will have a
wide repertoire of exercises for loosening the jaw--you can find
this info in voice books in your local bookstore, too. Als! o,
you might find someone to help you learn simple stretches for
your head and neck alignment, since many people thrust their
heads forward or back, and this puts pressure on the joint of
the jaw. ''TMJ'' is a misnomer, since it stands for temporo-
mandibular joint--in other words, everyone has one unless you
don't have a jaw. Tension in this joint can range from
occasional to habitual (can be changed with clear information)
to chronic (does not change because no clear information has
been given) to debilitating (people here have described breaking
their teeth and other painful things). All of these have come
popularly to be called ''TMJ.'' It's catchy, but if you can just
learn how not to tense your jaw, then it's pretty much overkill
to treat you as someone with a ''disorder.'' The real problem
with a night guard is that it encourages you to bite down, which
is the opposite of useful.&nb! sp; Anyway, this is just to say that
there are tools and a lot of information for people who grind
their teeth, and they are not operating in the dental/medical
model. Basically, unless you are unable to function, you can
choose whether you sleep with something in your mouth, or learn
My dentist told me that I am grinding my teeth at night and that
I need to wear a mouth guard. She contacted my insurance
provider and found that insurance will pay 60%. I'm not
particularly worried about the money, but am wondering if these
mouth guards are necessary. The conversation with my dentist
left me suspicious - she seemed very eager to get me to do it
right away, and was unusually helpful about the insurance, etc.
Later, a friend told me that she believes these mouth guards are
a scam, that everyone grinds their teeth. I may get a second
opinion from another dentist, but wonder if anyone else has
experience with this issue.
I have clenched my teeth for years and recently saw a dentist who
also suggested a mouth guard. She explained that our teeth are
not meant to take the constant hard pressure of pressing against
each other without food as a buffer. She was able to show me
hairline cracks that were developing in my teeth as a result of
the clenching/grinding, and she recommended a mouth guard. I
decided to trust her on this and did go ahead and get one. It
takes a bit of getting used to, but now I can sleep just fine
with it. One plus, is that besides protecting your teeth when you
press them together, it makes your mouth rest in such a way that
you be come much more aware of when you're pressing together - and
in some cases may stop the habit and ultimately not need the
No, the night guards aren't a scam. The fact that your dentist
was quick and helpful simply means that she is...quick and
helpful. My bruxism (grinding) is due to poor occlusion (my upper
and lower jaw don't match, the teeth don't line up). I didn't have
orthodonture as a child which might have corrected my bite, and
I'd have to do some extreme orthodonture to fix it now (many
extractions), so instead I wear the night guard. I was
experiencing cracking in my teeth and gum recession, as well as a
sore jaw, and this has largely abated since the night guard. In
any case, if you don't believe me, check out Medline:
Yes! Night guards are necessary and worth every cent. I am 36
and have five crowns! I wish I had coughed up the money when my
dentist first recommended a night guard when I was 25. I've
been wearing one for three years and I sleep much better at
night knowing that I'm no longer wearing my teeth away.
Ask your dentist about a cheap alternative to the hard-plastic
kind. Mine is made from a pliable rubber material and it only
I too was told that I ground my teeth at night and needed an
expensive night guard. I overheard my dentist telling other
patients the same thing. It was costly, I've never thought I
ground my teeth, and so I ignored her advice. She hasn't
mentioned it again (this was over a year ago), and nothing dire
has happened due to this supposed grinding. I'd be interested
to hear what a second opinion reveals...
I don't think that it is a scam about your dentist recommending a night guard. I
have been wearing one for about 10 years. I ground my teeth so much that I have
actually had to have them built up in places. Without the nightguard I would
have a lot more damage. Nightguards are a hassle but they will save you a lot of
expense in the end and your teeth will look better in ten years - because they
won't be so worn down - than if you hadn't worn a nightguard.
I'd like to answer this question from 2 perspectives! I am a
physical therapist (with some experience in TMJ treatment)
who grinds her teeth at night and has ended up with some
serious TMJ problems! I agree that unless the mouth guard
is fitted by a practitioner with experience in TMJ
abnormalities (not just any dentist, or any PT), then the
mouth guard is useless. The purpose of the night guard is
not only to protect wearing down of the teeth, but also to
protect the TMJ joint itself. If it is going to achieve both
purposes, the guard must be fitted so that the patient's TMJ
joint is resting in what is called its ''neutral'' position.
Otherwise, you are grinding and putting a lot of pressure on
this joint in an abnormal way (even with a ''guard'' that is not
fitted properly), thus putting you at risk of developing TMJ
problems if you do not already have them. Some say just to
go to the drug store and buy a football mouth guard that you
can heat and fit to your mouth -- BAD IDEA! Instead, if you
are feeling lots of jaw pain, do your research and ask
questions! You are very lucky that your insurance covers
60% of the cost -- most do not cover any cost of
mouthguards. Call around and ask for dentists or PTs who
have specific TMJ experience. Do not just go to anyone who
says that they have experience making mouth guards. Ask if
they consider the neutral position of the TMJ joint when
fabricating. If they pause or don't seem to understand, move
on! I'd be happy to help you with any questions, if I can. I
know of an excellent orthodontist in Napa (far, I know, but he
made my most effective splint) and a PT in Walnut Creek
who has lots of experience in this area. Good luck!
I'm surprised to hear the comment about night guards being a
scam. I've had one for several years (if properly cared for,
they last about five years) and have noticed substantial
reduction in gum recession, my personal bete noire caused by
tooth grinding. That's my own experience. I would suggest that
if you are suspicious of your dentist's motivations, that you at
least get a second opinion, if not consider switching dentists.
anonymous tooth grinder
Many years ago my dentist told me that from his examinations it
looked like I was grinding my teeth and clenching my jaw at
night. He recommended that I get a mouth guard. Unfortunately I
didn't take his advice and I wound up cracking a tooth! These
mouth guards are really needed by some people (although they are
a drag to wear and fairly expensive).
my sister, who is a dentist, wears are night guard. her
husband, also a dentist, agrees that night guards are an
important part of prevention of further dental problems. if
your dentist can see signs of wear or flattening of the tooth
surface, then most likely, you are grinding or clenching enough
to cause damage. sometimes, your partner can tell that you
grind at night. some people grind or clench in the daytime so a
night guard is not helpful. it doesn't hurt to get a second
opinion. it seems that the younger doctors are more prone to
prescribe things that are for prevention.
I went to the dentist absolutely positive that I had a cavity
because I was experiencing a lot of sensitivity with one
particular tooth. It turned out to be a small, hairline crack in
the tooth, called an abfraction. This was from clenching my
teeth while I slept. (I'm a clencher, not a grinder.)
Clenching or grinding causes teeth to become very
sensitive and painful, but in my case wearing the mouth
guard at night has totally made it feel better. I noticed a
difference in about a week. I can't explain why, because the
mouth guard obviously doesn't heal the crack, nor does it
stop you from clenching or grinding. But it does relieve the
pressure as you do clench or grind, preventing further
problems. Plus, they're super sexy and you feel like a real
beauty queen when you pop it in and get into bed. Hope
I have a night guard that I do not wear very often (it is one
more thing to clean, much like brushing your teeth). I do grind
my teeth and sometimes wake up with a sore jaw from clenching it
at night. The mouth guard prevents me from getting a good grip
on my teeth and is quite affective. My suggestion: if you wake
up with sore teeth or jaw then get a night guard.
My husband ground his teeth every night for years - especially
when he was stressed. It eventually started wearing down his
enamel, and was giving him a sore jaw. He got a mouth guard a
couple of years ago, and it stopped the grinding immediately. He
says it feels sort of slippery, and his teeth can't get a grip on
it, so he can't grind. It has helped immensely. Not everyone
grinds their teeth, but the night guard certainly helped my
About 5 years ago, I was having jaw problems occasionally when I
bit into sandwiches on hard bread, or apples. My dentist thought
it was a TMJ problem and refered me to a TMJ specialist but also
told me that it was inevitable that I would HAVE to wear a night
mouth guard because it was a given that I MUST be grinding my
teeth at night. In the meantime, I was in a minor car accident
and decided to see a highly recommended chiropractor just for a
check-up. She found that my head and neck were displaced
(common from childhood orthodontia at least in the old days, she
said; probably not from the minor car accident). I didn't
mention any jaw problems (it didn't even occur to me that they
could be related). After two chiropractic sessions, I
could ''magically'' chew effortlessly again and my jaw opened
straight up and down again (not off to the side like it had) --
a lot of other annoying things with my body that I didn't even
realize until the minor chronic problems all cleared up also
disappeared. I never went to the TMJ specialist (although now
I'm curious what he would have diagnosed and how he thought it
should have been treated!) and I never wore a guard. Since
then, I've had no jaw problems at all. I'm not sure if my
problem could be related to your reason for posting or not;
however, I was told by my dentist that I must be grinding my
teeth even though I and my husband didn't think this was the
I am a dental hygienist with 23 years experience. I discuss
nightgaurds with patients every day. Not everyone grinds or
clenches their teeth, but many people do and are unaware of it.
The most common sign of bruxism (grinding) is enamel wear. I
have seen patients that are in their 20's and 30's and they have
grinded off the cusps of their teeth to where their mouth looks
like that of someone in their 60's or 70's. There are many
symptoms that you could or couldn't have. They are most
noticeable upon waking. Headaches, shoulder/neck stiffness,
occasional jaw pain that disguises itself like a toothache but
then goes away, sporadic cracking/chipping teeth, earaches and
more. Previous orthodontic work(braces) is very common in a
bruxer. The most common complaint I hear is ''I had this pain and
then it went away after a day''. Nightgaurds are far from being a
scam. They have been around for many years but are the most
underdiagnosed thing in dentistry. Remember that your mouth is
different than anyone else's mouth. What goes on in your
friend's mouth has nothing to do with yours. There aren't many
solutions as simple as a nightgaurd that have such great
benefits. I always have clients tell me they sleep better and
don't have anymore pain. If you are unaware that you grind, one
way of telling might be to look at your teeth in old photos and
then look at them now. Do they appear shorter? Like a receding
hairline you see the progression with time. We dental
professionals are always faced with a patient not wanting to do
work unless it is covered by their insurance, so we go out of our
way to find out patient's benefits, so that you can make your
decisions on what work you would like to do. Nightgaurds are
commonly not covered by insurance and at best they are covered at
50%. I think your dentist is trying to help you. My guess is
she was happy for you, that you had coverage, most people don't.
After doing this work for as long as I've been doing it, it
always seems to bother me that people always think dentists are
bad guys, selling some line. I work for a very ethical practice
and we keep the best interest of our patients in mind. Of course
we all work for money too, dentistry is a business, but contrary
to popular belief, anyone that can do what we do is mostly in it
because we care about your oral health. I h
I love my night guard. I have been grinding my teeth for years;
it is more pronounced during stressful times. Looking closely
at my teeth, you can see where the grinding takes places and I
can sometimes feel tightness in the jaw when NOT wearing my
night guard. It is a personal decision. For me, it is very
helpful and I can feel the difference. Good luck with your
A moldable plastic night guard is available at Mary and Joe's
Sporting Store on San Pablo and Solano. It's about $2 and not
hard to use.
Grinding my teeth has led to TWO crowns (@$900 each) and hurts
my jaw. When I use the mouth guard, my mouth does not hurt.
Go to the sporting goods store, get a football mouthguard - the
kind that you drop in hot water to soften up to fit - Cut the
strap off with a sharp knife and Voila! A night mouth guard for
about five bucks. I did this for tooth grinding, works great. My
uncle the dentist told me about it, and an ear nose and throat
MD confirmed that it's a great solution.
I have a nightguard. When my dentist recommended it I had the
same reaction as you....sounds like they're trying to make some
money from me (heavy sell). But now that I've used it for a few
months, I can see the benefits. My jaw is much more relaxed.
Also I was grinding my teeth down fast, so the guard will
hopefully save me from costly crowns in the future. My
advice...get the guard
I wear a night mouth guard and I truly believe it works. My
dentist advised me to get one because I was grinding my teeth at
night and was causing alot of stress and wear and tear on a
molar that has a dental implant and crown. The dental implant
was super expensive (not covered by insurance either) and the
first one I had failed, my dentist thinks because of the teeth
grinding. This is my second implant and I have used the night
guard the entire time. It has been about a year and a half and
I think I am out of the woods for this one failing. This leads
me to believe that the guard is really helping.
If you have alot of dental work that you would like to protect,
or if your teeth seem to be shifting at all, this is one way to
keep them in place.
Net net, I am really happy with my night guard and have a hard
time going to sleep without it!
I've been told (by my wife), that I've been grinding my teeth,
practically since she's first known me (over 20 years now). My
dentist noted (independently) that my teeth appeared to have an
unusual amount of wear, and he asked me if I was grinding my
teeth. Thus, I got fitted for the mouth guard... I don't recall
how expensive it was, but, as in your case, insurance only
covered a portion. There is another alternative-- most sporting
goods stores sell ''bite-guards'' in the football section of the
store. For ~$10, you can get one of these-- you drop them into
boiling water and then bite down to get a 'custom' fit. I'm
betting that it's about as good as the dental piece, and I'll
probably use this, if I ever lose my more expensive piece. The
only danger is that you may kick it out of your mouth during the
night, but that has happened sometimes with my dental piece too.
Hi - had to answer about the mouth guard. I've had one for over
20 years (and get new ones every so often) and the difference in
how my teeth feel with and without it is night and day. My
husband not only ground his teeth but snapped his jaw so hard it
woke me up. He didn't get a guard until he damaged his teeth so
much he had to have expensive and painful dental work. Now he
wears his every night, too. It's not romantic, but so worth it.
Happy with night guard
Definitely get a second opinion. I have known since I was a child
that I grind my teeth. Your friend is wrong, not everyone grinds
their teeth. But in graduate school I starting grinding my teeth
to the point that they hurt in the morning. I thought I had a
cavity, but it was the grinding. I put off getting a mouth guard
for about 3 years and as a result I put so much stress on one side
of my mouth, I cracked my tooth and it now has a crown. That was
only the beginning. I need to wear it every night, otherwise my
teeth get so sensitive they hurt. It is now 10 years later and I
still grind my teeth but with a mouth guard. I can see the
battering I do to the gard and am glad I'm not still doing that to
my teeth. They are the only set of teeth you have left, they are
worth the protection.
-my two cents
While I think your friend is right that everybody grinds or
clenches at night, I think there are degrees to the severity and
I happen to have a very strong jaw along with an overactive
nocturnal habit of clenching and grinding that has caused
considerable harm to one of my molars. My dentist attributes
the many cracks in my teeth to this activity, and these cracks
have led to fillings, crowns, and in one extreme case, a root
I got a mouth guard about a year ago and had to pay for the
entire bill out of pocket (not as generous of an insurance
company). I was very disappointed to finally get the guard and
find that it was a stiff, plastic mouthpiece that fits over the
top set of teeth. It seemed completely contrary to the goal of
minimizing the impact of my grinding and clenching. I thought
it would be softer, more maliable, so I could sink my teeth into
it rather than into my bottom teeth. Nevertheless, I put it
on. After several trips back to the dentist for adjustments I
can safely say that I find it to be WORTHLESS! Whether I grind
and clench with my own teeth, or I use the mouth guard to smash
my bottom teeth, it's still causing harm. My teeth and jaw are
still sore, just like they were without the guard.
I actually ended up using the tray that came with my teeth
whitening kit and because it's soft and flexible it has seemed
to really help me.
I recommend trying a cheaper alternative like a sport mouthguard
or whitening tray to see if 1) you can stand something in your
mouth all night, 2) you want/need something that's flexible and
takes the brunt of your activity, 3) if this method of
prevention actually works for you.
I have had a mouth (occlusal) guard for years (first one covered by
insurance then in a bag that was stolen, second not covered AT ALL by
insurance so you are lucky at least 60% is covered, I paid about $500). I
got the first guard after I had to have a root canal because I clenched so
much I cracked a tooth which got infected. Ouch! Those early 30s were
pretty stressful :-) I have been on and off using it, but a recent visit to the
dentist had him saying a similar thing to yours, use it every day without fail
etc. or else risk further damage. I just could not use it during my pregnancy
and after, there was just so much going on and sleep was so broken I
couldn't bring myself to keep putting in the guard after waking up for the
umpteenth time to nurse the baby. Now that we're older and sleeping a
little better, I'm trying to use it more faithfully but wonder, as you do, if
worth it. The root canal was so so awful I tend to use the guard so I can
avoid another. I wish there was a way to measure how much damage I'm
really doing and see if the guard is worth wearing. Good luck...
My Mother-in-Law, who's in her early 60s, ground her teeth for
years and caused considerable damage, to the extent that she had
to have her front teeth capped. She now uses a night guard. I
have similar issues and swear by them. Might be worth trying --
you only get one set of teeth!
Before going to a TMJ specialist to get fitted for a night
guard, I'd first go to ww.tmj.org, which has an entire section
devoted to night guards/splints. Also, be aware that there
are hundreds if not thousands of dentists and physical
therapists in the Bay Area who claim to be TMJ specialists.
Some of them are lying. My general understanding is that
mouth guards can be handy for people with serious
bruxism. The use of splints in treating TMJ disorders,
however, isn't backed by ANY scientitic studies.
Repositioning splints, in particular, are harmful, in that they
damage patients' bites irreversibly. Bear in mind that people
aren't designed to be perfectly symmetrical. Just because a
person's bite doesn't line up with Germanic precision
doesn't mean there's anything wrong with it.
I have had the tooth grinding problem off and on for years -
although oddly enough - never when I was pregnant or nursing -
hardly stress-free times! A friend was recently told by her
dentist that she had cracked many of her molars from grinding and
fitted her for a mouth guard.
I had been having bad headaches recently and I am pretty sure they
were from the grinding. Figuring I didn't have much to lose
before spending hundreds of dollar on a mouth guard, I went to
Long's Drugs and got an off-the-shelf item for about $25. It has
a very detailed description of how to fit it which involves
softening it in boiling water, etc. I have been using it off and
on for a couple of weeks and no more headaches.
You might try it. If you do, don't give up after the first night
wearing it. I found it molded itself to my mouth over the first
week or so and feels much better now than it initially did.
Thank the lord for giving us the smarts to make these
My whole family has to use them and let me tell you they are
I didn't get one until my early twenties and I wish our family
dentist had insisted on us wearing them when my sister
and I were much younger.
Before the night guard I almost ground the tops off of my
lower teeth down to the nerves.
I've been wearing one religiously since my late twenties and
sleep much better at night.
More importantly, I have a better chance at keeping my teeth
because it protects them from becoming even more worn
If you have dental insurance it will cover most of the cost of
having a custom guard made. Don't settle for less!
The over the counter guards are very uncomfortable and
don't work nearly as well as the one your dentist will make
Once the dentist makes the first mouth guard, you should
be able to get somewhat of a price break if you need
Things to watch out for when using a night guard.
Always put it in the container and make sure the container is
far away from dogs or cats.
They have eaten many a mouth guard tucked safely under
Night guards can break after an excessive amount of wear
I have to get a new one made after 3-4 years of service. I
pretty much destroyed it. I'm grateful it was the guard I
destroyed and not my teeth!!
If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact
me off the list.
I have had a problem with grinding my teeth since I was a child.
When I was in college, the dentist I had at the time attributed
grinding my teeth to a bad bite and some bad fillings. He ground
down some of the fillings, and I think the grinding lessened as a
result. However... some twenty years later, I'm still grinding
my teeth at night. My current dentist, who has been my dentist
for 15 years and whom I like very much, recommended that I get a
night guard because she said that my gums, which are already
starting to recede, are becoming 'notched'. She says that it is
a result of grinding my teeth, plus my age (48). My teeth also
have little cracks in the enamel.
I have had the night guard for about a year. I wear it most
nights. I haven't had an exam since I got it, so I don't
know if my dentist will see an improvement. I don't actually
expect that my gums will improve, but I'm hoping that they
won't get worse. So I look at the night guard as 'insurance'
to prevent me from further fracturing my teeth and to
prevent further 'notching' of my gums. I'll be interested to
read other postings on the subject because I didn't do any
reading about night guards before getting mine.
First, may I suggest that you seek out a dentist in whose
recommendations and treatment plan you can place your trust. For
several years I was the patient of a dentist who, I was
convinced, was only interested in extracting as much revenue as
possible from my mouth. In that light, ANY treatment that he
suggested was suspect, regardless of its basis in good
dentistry. When I finally found a dentist that I felt was
trustworthy, (a valued friend who's his dental assistant vouched
for his integrity), he suggested that a possible cause of the
procession of cracked teeth requiring root canals and crowns
that I'd been experiencing might be excessive nighttime teeth
grinding and that a night guard might help. (My previous dentist
had provided the root canals and crowns, but not suggested the
night guard.) I had him fit me for the guard, (to the tune of
$300- not cheap!) and I've not had another cracked tooth in the
past 3+ years since. (Subsequent dental work has required
modifications to the original and recasting of a new one which
my dentist has done for no additional charge.) You should be
aware that having the thing in your mouth takes some getting
used to and it only works if you wear it every night. (I know
two other people that have been fitted for them and neither of
them continues to use it.) On several occasions I believed that
I was no longer grinding my teeth at night and left the night
guard on the bedside table only to awaken with an aching jaw-
proof that I was still grinding away. At one point I misplaced
my dentist-made night guard and tried the over the counter model
available in drugstores, but due to the amount of excess
material in the fitting process it made for a very poor
substitute. Hope this helps.
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