Teeth grinding: What dental appliance can I use?

If you frequently grind or clench your teeth during sleep, that is a sign of bruxism. Untreated bruxism can lead to health conditions like headaches and jaw pains. Such nocturnal grinding can also damage existing dental work like implants or crowns, or result in cracks or chips. Most bruxers develop jaw, neck or back pains, while for more serious cases, aggravated TMJ (Temporo-mandibular Joint Disorder) problem.

Although it is an extremely common condition, most people find out about the condition only after it has wreaked havoc on their teeth or they have been suffering terrible migraines over a long period. That’s because most bruxers only come to know of their condition when informed by a spouse or dentist who detected signs of erosion on their teeth.

Thankfully, the effects of bruxism can be reversed with the appropriate care and use of highly effective dental devices that not only protect your teeth from further damage, but also prevent your bruxism from worsening.  

If you are diagnosed to suffer from this sleeping disorder, an orthodontic appliance called a nightguard or splint may be used to reduce or eliminate the problem altogether. However, should the condition persists, your dentist will then discuss other alternative treatments to correct the problem.

Dental mouth guards and splints can help to relief the pain and discomfort experienced by some bruxers, in addition to preventing the wearing down of teeth exposed to regular and intense pressures from the grinding activities. As the name suggests, night guards are designed for wearing during sleep to protect the bruxer’s teeth during their sleep. 

The most commonly used night guard is a hard acrylic “full arch” appliance that covers all of the teeth on either the upper or lower arch. This type of mouthguard is designed to hold your jaw in a comfortable position while you sleep and greatly reduces teeth grinding and jaw clenching. 

The hard acrylic material of the device is built for durability and to withstand excessive grinding and clenching, frequently used by people with extreme clenching or complicated bite problems. The downside is that the hard acrylic does not compress under stress and as such may not be quite as comfortable.

For those experiencing minor pains or just want to trial a mouthpiece, the soft nightguard may be a better option. Soft nightguards are usually comfortable for the wearer and less pricey. The soft material, however, makes it less durable and susceptible to wear and tear. You will however need to be aware of this disclaimer: These over-the-counter nightguards tend not to fit as well as custom dental nightguards, hence may aggravate instead of relieving your clenching/ grinding issue.

Finally, you may opt for the Dual Laminate Nightguard that combines both the comfort of the soft guard and the durability of the hard acrylic. The underlying layer provides maximum comfort and adaptability, cushioning the teeth under extreme pressure, while the hard acrylic exterior can handle the excessive clenching and help protect the teeth. 

Whichever option you are considering, it is best to seek the professional advise of your dentist as you will first need to find out the type and extent of bruxism you have.


For more information on Dental Nightguard to protect against bruxism (grinding/ clenching problems), book an appointment with our Friendly Dentist in Molonglo Valley. Contact Molonglo Dental Surgery at 02 6287 1222.   

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