Are you still trying to get used to wearing a mouth guard? Professionally customized mouth guards are usually a sleek, natural design. After a few consistent wearing’s, it starts to feel like you’re not wearing one at all. Even talking becomes easier with it in.
Until you reach that level of comfort though, it can be hard to feel motivated to wear your mouth guard. This article will hopefully convince you to stick it out, until it feels natural. We’re exploring why it’s important to wear your mouth guard.
WHY WAS YOUR MOUTHGUARD RECOMMENDED?
Your dentist recommended a mouthguard for any number of reasons: the top three include:
TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT (TMJ) PAIN: Lopsided pain (discomfort in one ear, or on one side of your jaw) is often due to TMJ. You may feel it when you’re chewing or eating, or sleeping on that side. Or you could hear and feel a popping sensation when your jaw moves. Millions of Canadians experience TMJ which is usually treated with a mouthguard. The mouthguard promotes resting your jaw muscles, aiding in recovery while you sleep.
SLEEP APNEA: Mouthguards (in this case known as a mandibular advancement device) are very helpful when it comes to sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. By wearing the mouthguard on the lower arch, your jaw and tongue naturally reposition themselves, creating a wider airway. This is why loud snorers often find relief with a mouthguard.
GRINDING OR CLENCHING: “Bruxism” is the clinical term for grinding or clenching. The reasons why you’re grinding can vary from a misaligned bite, to acid reflux, even stress, or prescription medications. Grinding and clenching wear down the enamel which can break fillings and cause sensitivity, a mouthguard prevents this.
COULD THE MOUTHGUARD BE MADE WRONG?
It’s possible (in the sense that anything is possible) but it’s doubtful. A mouthguard is a custom-made device, from thermoplastic material. Dentists usually require two appointments to make it for you:
APPOINTMENT 1. This is often when your dentist recommends the mouth guard. The process starts with impressions of your teeth. It might be a little uncomfortable for the :30-:60 it takes. The dentist will insert a tray with dental putty into your mouth, which you’ll gently bite down on. These are turned into a model which is sent to a lab. The mouthguard is formed around the model for a perfect custom fit.
APPOINTMENT 2. When the mouthguard comes back from the lab, a second appointment is used to confirm its fit. You and your dentist will examine the fit to ensure it’s comfortable. If it’s not, the mould will be taken again. It’s at this appointment where you and your dentist will discover if anything is wrong. If nothing comes up, and you go home with your mouth guard, then it’s likely a well-made fit.
CARING FOR YOUR MOUTHGUARD
While it’s not likely your mouthguard could be made wrong, it can start to lose its comfort or shape after too much use. Communicate with your dentist how it’s been feeling. You may need to bring it in with you, if you do have a problem.
Your mouthguard is designed to hold up to a lot of pressure and action, no matter how much you grind away, but caring for it will help extend its life. It’s important to sanitize it daily. Proper cleaning instructions will be provided for you by your dentist, but you can always call if you lose them. Keep in mind that many mouthguards should not be brushed with a toothbrush. Doing so could scratch the surface, trapping bacteria.
Instead, soak your mouthguard in an antimicrobial solution. This could be diluted mouthwash or even denture cleaner. When you’re not wearing your mouthguard, be sure to store it in a dry, ventilated case.
With all this in mind, if you’re still having trouble sleeping with your mouth guard, you need to communicate this with your dentist. If it turns out the discomfort can’t be solved, your dental team will likely want to find another solution (for the problem the mouthguard was recommended for).