Creating Confident Smiles
Oral Mouth Guard Types
While different types of mouth guards look similar to each other, they can have very different functions.
Teeth grinding and clenching are part of a condition called bruxism, which is a sleep-related movement disorder that can cause a variety of problems, such as tooth pain, jaw pain, and sore gums. It can also damage your teeth.
Wearing a mouth guard while your sleep can help keep your top and bottom teeth separated so they don’t damage each other from the pressure of grinding or clenching.
In most cases, you’ll want a custom-fitted mouth guard for bruxism. Stock mouth guards are hard to keep in place and uncomfortable, which can make it difficult to sleep. While boil-and-bite mouth guards offer a better fit, they become brittle and weak with frequent use. Talk to your dentist about getting a custom guard.
Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder that causes a person to temporarily stop breathing while asleep. This can prevent your brain from receiving enough oxygen and increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. It can also cause excessive snoring and leave you feeling groggy the next day.
Instead of simply covering your teeth, a mouth guard for sleep apnea works by pushing your lower jaw and tongue forward, keeping your airway open. Some types have a strap that goes around your head and chin to re-adjust your lower jaw.
Mouth guards can also help to reduce snoring, which happens due to vibrations of soft tissue in your upper airway. They tend to work similarly to mouth guards for sleep apnea. Both types work by pulling your lower jaw forward to keep your airway open.
If your snoring is interfering with your daily life, talk to your dentist about mouth guard options. They may be able to make you a mouth guard or recommend one that’s worked for their other patients. You can also try these 15 home remedies for snoring.