Grinding your teeth can take a toll on your oral health over time. Wearing a bite guard while sleeping is a great way to protect your teeth from wear and strain. It can also prevent health problems and side effects like jaw pain and headaches. Having a checkup and exam at First Impressions Dental Care is a great way to see if you’ve created a teeth-grinding habit. As top dentists in Renton, Washington, Dr. Rick Sodergren and Dr. Deborah Gur-Arie can identify subtle signs of grinding and provide you with a custom guard that protects your teeth while you sleep.
Bite guards are dental devices worn to prevent tooth wear and other issues caused by bruxism (teeth grinding) and clenching. Over time, chronic grinding and clenching wear away tooth surfaces and weaken tooth roots, exposing teeth to risks for decay and other types of damage, including loss. When tooth surfaces are worn, your bite balance can also be affected, resulting in chronic jaw pain, headaches, and temporomandibular disorder. Bite guards provide a cushion between your teeth to absorb the excess force and pressure caused by grinding and clenching so your teeth are protected.
Bite guards are made on a patient-by-patient basis to ensure a comfortable and secure fit. The process begins with a complete dental exam and is followed by impressions of your teeth. The impressions are sent to a dental lab and serve as molds for your bite guards. The guards themselves are made of state-of-the-art materials, providing you with a custom-fit result that’s designed to last.
If you grind or clench your teeth during the day, you might be able to “kick” your habit with a little behavior modification. But the fact is, most people grind and clench their teeth at night during sleep. If you’ve ever woken up with a stiff jaw or headache, it could be a result of clenching or grinding your teeth while sleeping. Bite guards are designed to be worn at night, cushioning your teeth to prevent overstraining your jaw muscles while protecting the surfaces of your teeth.
No, the bite guards you receive from Dr. Sodergren or Dr. Gur-Arie offer significant advantages compared to those in a drugstore. Bite guards from the dentist’s office are made specifically for your mouth, following the contours of your teeth and your jaws for a precise fit that’s engineered for your needs and yours alone. One-size-fits-all bite guards sold in drugstores and other outlets aren’t designed for individual patients, so they can’t provide the same level of support and protection. Even “boil-and-bite” guards -- those that are designed to be molded after they’re warmed up -- simply can’t provide the same level of protection as a custom-made bite guard from Dr. Sodergren or Dr. Gur-Arie. In some cases, these “off-the-shelf” guards can actually make underlying problems worse.