Mouthguards are worn at night to prevent damage to your teeth from some disorders, such as teeth-clenching or grinding (bruxism), while you sleep. They can also help to relieve snoring and obstructive sleep apnea and are similar to sportsguards that are used for physical activity. Thomas Family Dentistry can discuss your situation in detail with you and arrange for a tailor-made night guard to alleviate your problems.
Teeth-grinding, snoring, and sleep apnea all have a detrimental effect on the quality of our sleep. If you frequently wake up feeling unrefreshed and tired, it may be because your sleep is disturbed by one of these problems. The remedy could be as simple as a tailor-made mouthguard that you wear at night that finally lets you get a good night’s sleep.
Bruxism is a sleep-related disorder where patients are unaware they are clenching or grinding their teeth during sleep. It can cause pain in the jaw, teeth, and soreness in the gums. It also does not do the teeth any good and may cause damage.
By wearing a mouthguard as you sleep, the top and bottom set of teeth are kept separate and the jaw prevented from moving. After you’ve got used to the appliance you should have a pain-free, more restful night’s sleep.
Snoring normally happens when the tongue and other tissues in the mouth become too relaxed. The air passing over creates vibrations, which produces the snoring sound. Snorers (and their sleep partners) may find that mouthguards can help alleviate their snoring, but to find the right solution for a snoring problem, it will need to be established what is causing the snoring.
For some people, it is the tongue falling back in the throat that causes snoring, while for others it is the jaw falling back that is the problem. Both can be alleviated with mouthguards. The tongue retaining device (TRD) grips the tongue to stop it from falling into the throat, whereas the mandibular advancement device (MAD) fits over the teeth to push the jaw forward, keeping the airway open in the throat.
While these devices won’t cure snoring, they will decrease it by a significant amount.
Sleep Apnea is a potentially serious condition, causing people to stop breathing while they are asleep. It may happen hundreds of times a night, resulting in ongoing tiredness and leading to other problems, such as depression. Another consequence of sleep apnea is that the brain does not get enough oxygen, increasing the risk of heart disease or stroke.
If you have mild sleep apnea (or cannot tolerate the preferred CPAP treatment), a custom-made mouthguard may be a satisfactory solution. The mouthguard pushes the lower jaw and tongue forward, keeping the airway open and obstruction-free.
Cleaning Your Mouthguard
As the mouthguard spends a lot of time in your mouth, keeping it clean and protecting it from damage is important.
You should always brush your teeth and floss before putting the mouthguard in at night. After removing the nightguard in the morning, always rinse with cold water. Do not use hot water as this may alter the shape of your appliance.
Speak to the dentist about how to clean your mouthguard effectively. Some kinds of toothpaste are abrasive and may damage the plastic. You can soak the mouthguard in denture tablets, and mouthwash is also fine if it is colorless - but avoid the colored ones which may stain your mouthguard permanently.
Get in touch with our experts at Thomas Family Dentistry if you’d like to know more about wearing mouthguards at night for one of these problems. Schedule an appointment by calling 971-348-4244.