The Benefits of Wearing a Custom Mouthguard at Night

The Benefits of Wearing a Custom Mouthguard at Night

December 14, 2018

Sleep disorders are incredibly common, with sleep bruxism and obstructive sleep apnea being near the top of the list. This can cause a number of problems in both children and adults. Thankfully, a custom oral mouthguard solution helps alleviate sleep bruxism symptoms. Urbach Pediatric Dentistry has compiled everything you need to know about the benefits of custom mouth guards, including custom mouth guards for kids.

What Is Sleep Bruxism?

Bruxism refers to grinding and clenching the teeth. This often happens during sleep, but may happen during the day, too. Linked to a range of causes, the most common being obstructive sleep apnea and stress. If it’s a common occurrence, is can create restless sleep, disruption for partners, and ultimately tooth damage.

Sleep Bruxism Symptoms

Tooth sensitivity and pain, damage to teeth, loose teeth, flattened teeth, chipped teeth, and worn enamel are all symptoms of bruxism. Pain can spread to the jaw, face, and neck, or manifest as a headache in the temples or as an earache-like pain. Opening or closing the jaw may become difficult. Fatigued or tight muscles in the jaw is possible. The inside of cheeks may also be damaged.

Children More Susceptible to Sleep Bruxism

About 8% of adults suffer from sleep bruxism, but as many as 20-30% of children suffer, according to studies. This may be due to a variety of factors, including issues with top-bottom jaw alignment. Other times, it is a response to earaches and teething pain. Stress or other medical conditions may also be a cause. Thankfully, most children stop eventually.

Custom Oral Mouthguard Solution

Wearing an oral mouthguard at night can address the problem. It’s much like a retainer, and covers the bottom and top teeth with pieces of plastic that hinder grinding. This requires seeing a dentist who is trained in dental sleep medicine. He or she will make an impression of the teeth and create a custom-fitted mouthguard from acrylic. It will be checked for a proper fit and adjusted as needed.

Bruxism and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Your dentist will determine whether bruxism is a symptom of another condition known as sleep apnea. About 25% of patients with sleep apnea manifest bruxism. Sleep apnea is linked to obesity, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, glaucoma, diabetes, an depression.

Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when muscles in your throat relax excessively, blocking the flow of air. The patient then awakens suddenly to breathe. This creates a release of stress hormones which may cause bruxism. This causes pauses in breathing of anywhere from seconds to a full minute. When breathing resumes, a choking or snorting sound is often heard.

Treatment With a Mouthguard or Oral Appliance

Oral appliance therapy is the first line treatment approved by the American Academy of Sleep medicine. It is often preferable over CPAP devices for its lack of noise, comfort, and ease of use. The oral appliance sits in the mouth like a sports mouthguard and holds the lower jaw forward to maintain an open airway. This prevents the throat muscles and tongue from collapsing against the upper airway.

Urbach Pediatric Dentistry Can Help You With Bruxism

Whether you are suffering from bruxism or obstructive sleep apnea, Urbach Pediatric Dentistry is the best pediatric dentist in Houston, TX. Providing the best care for our patients, we’re the pediatric dentist in Houston with the experience and customer service for your needs.  If you’re seeking help from a pediatric dentist in 77098, look no further than Urbach Pediatric Dentistry.