Tips for Sleeping with a Mouth Guard

Mastering the Nighttime Routine

June 22, 2024 Written By: Joyce Kahng, DDS

Do you find yourself waking up with a sore jaw or headache? Do you grind or clench your teeth at night? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people suffer from bruxism (the medical term for teeth grinding and clenching).

While it might seem like a minor annoyance, bruxism can lead to serious dental problems over time. Luckily, there’s a simple solution that can help: a mouthguard. But how do you get used to sleeping with one?

Below are some tips to help ensure your nights are more restful.

Types of Mouthguards: Which One is Right for You?

Choosing the right mouthguard is crucial for both comfort and effectiveness. There are three main types, each with its own advantages and drawbacks:

  • Stock Mouthguards: These pre-formed guards are readily available at drugstores and sporting goods stores. They’re the most budget-friendly option, but they come in limited sizes and may not fit your mouth perfectly. This can lead to discomfort and make them more likely to fall out during sleep.
  • Boil-and-Bite Mouthguards: These offer a bit more customization than stock guards. You soften them in hot water and then bite down to mold them to your teeth. While they provide a better fit than stock guards, they may not offer the same level of protection or durability as custom-fit options.
  • Custom-Fit Mouthguards: These are made by your dentist and are tailored to your specific bite and teeth alignment. They offer the most comfortable and secure fit, along with maximum protection against teeth grinding and clenching. However, they’re also the most expensive type of mouthguard.

Consider your budget, comfort preferences, and the severity of your bruxism when choosing a mouthguard. If you’re unsure which type is right for you, consult your dentist for personalized recommendations. They can help you select a mouthguard that will provide the best protection and comfort for your individual needs.

Tips for Sleeping with a Mouthguard: Mastering the Nighttime Routine

Transitioning to sleeping with a mouthguard might feel a bit strange at first, but with some patience and practice, it can become second nature. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you make the most of your mouthguard and ensure a comfortable night’s rest:

  • Gradual Introduction: Ease into wearing your mouthguard by starting with short intervals during the day. Wear it while reading, watching TV, or doing other relaxing activities. This allows your mouth to gradually adapt to the sensation, making it less intrusive at night.
  • Optimal Timing: Rather than popping in your mouthguard right before bed, try inserting it about 30-60 minutes beforehand. This gives your jaw ample time to relax and your mouth to adjust before you drift off to sleep. You might even find it helpful to wear it while doing your pre-sleep routine.
  • Prioritize Hygiene: Maintain good oral hygiene by rinsing your mouthguard with cool water before and after each use. For a deeper clean, gently brush it with a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste, ensuring you reach all the nooks and crannies. Store it in a well-ventilated case to allow it to dry completely and prevent bacteria from accumulating.
  • Explore Sleeping Positions: If you find the mouthguard uncomfortable in certain positions, experiment with different pillows or sleeping postures. Side sleeping might be more comfortable for some, while others might find relief by sleeping on their back with a slightly elevated head.
  • Patience and Persistence: It’s important to remember that adapting to a mouthguard takes time. Don’t get discouraged if it feels a bit odd at first. Most people find that it becomes more comfortable with consistent use. If you experience persistent discomfort or irritation, don’t hesitate to consult your dentist for adjustments or alternative solutions.

By following these tips and incorporating your mouthguard into your nighttime routine, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying restful sleep and waking up with a refreshed jaw and a brighter smile.

Seeking Professional Guidance: Your Dentist’s Expertise

While mouthguards are readily available over-the-counter, it’s crucial to seek guidance from your dentist before making a final decision. Their expertise can be invaluable in determining the best course of action for your specific needs.

  • Professional Assessment: A dental professional can thoroughly evaluate your oral health, assess the severity of your bruxism, and identify any underlying dental issues that might be contributing to your symptoms. This comprehensive evaluation ensures you receive a mouthguard tailored to your unique requirements.
  • Custom-Fit Solutions: If you’re struggling with persistent jaw pain, headaches, or significant tooth wear, your dentist might recommend a custom-fit mouthguard. These are crafted from precise impressions of your teeth, guaranteeing a secure and comfortable fit that maximizes protection.
  • Ongoing Support: Your dentist can also provide valuable advice on how to properly care for your mouthguard, ensuring its longevity and effectiveness. They can monitor your progress and make any necessary adjustments to maintain optimal comfort and protection.
  • Addressing Underlying Issues: In some cases, bruxism might be a symptom of an underlying medical condition, such as sleep apnea or TMJ disorder. Your dentist can help diagnose and manage these conditions in conjunction with other healthcare professionals, ensuring a holistic approach to your oral and overall health.
  • Regular Checkups: Even if you’ve already started using a mouthguard, regular dental checkups are crucial. Your dentist can assess its effectiveness, monitor any changes in your bite or teeth alignment, and provide ongoing support to ensure your mouthguard continues to meet your needs.

Remember, your dentist is your partner in oral health. Their expertise and guidance can empower you to make informed decisions about your mouthguard and address any underlying issues, ultimately improving your sleep quality and overall well-being.

Restful Sleep

A mouthguard can be a game-changer for those struggling with bruxism and its consequences. By understanding the types of mouthguards available, following tips for a comfortable fit, seeking professional guidance, and prioritizing care and hygiene, you can unlock a world of restful sleep and protect your oral health. Don’t let teeth grinding and clenching steal your sleep—take charge of your nights and embrace a brighter, healthier smile with the right mouthguard.

Smile Smarter,
Dr. Joyce

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