Do you regularly wake up with jaw pain and headaches? If so, you might be grinding your teeth at night. To reduce or prevent the effects of teeth grinding or bruxism, your dentist or doctor will likely recommend getting a mouthguard. Wearing a mouthguard prevents your teeth from grinding against each other, preventing potential damage and protecting the integrity of your teeth.
When considering mouthguards for bruxism, you might wonder whether you can use your sports mouthguard for teeth grinding. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. You should never use your sports mouthguard for bruxism.
While all mouthguards protect your mouth, they are for different scenarios. A sports mouthguard can’t be used for teeth grinding. They could cause more damage to your teeth and cause sleep difficulties such as obstructive sleep apnea. You might require a night guard for bruxism.
Let’s examine the key differences between a sports mouthguard and a nightguard and why you can’t use them interchangeably.
Sports mouthguards protect your teeth, tongue, jaw, cheeks, and mouth against a blow from sports accidents. They are bulkier and thus not good for teeth grinding.
On the other hand, a nightguard prevents teeth from grinding against each other. They position the jaw in a way that cushions or relieves muscle tension, inhibiting you from grinding your teeth.
Most games, workouts, and practice take about an hour or two. You wear a sports guard when you’re active. Alternatively, people sleep for about 7-8 hours daily, during which you should wear a nightguard—a sports guard encourages bacteria growth, leading to oral cavity infections.
It’s worth noting that sports and nightguards are different materials and sizes. Since a sports guard protects your mouth from a strong blow, it’s often thick. Therefore, if used for sleep bruxism, it can cause your teeth to shift and alter your bite, potentially leading to jaw pain, headaches, and occlusion issues.
Similarly, since a sports guard is bulkier, it will be uncomfortable to wear throughout the night. They are also likely to cause speaking and breathing difficulties, causing secondary issues such as sleep disorders.
Since a sports mouthguard protects your mouth from sports-related accidents, it covers your teeth and gums for maximum protection. If worn for bruxism, it can affect saliva flow in the mouth, encouraging bacteria attacks. A nightguard prevents teeth from grinding against each other, meaning that it only needs to cover the teeth and, most notably, the biting surfaces.
If you have bruxism, you should visit your dentist for a professional exam and advice. If your dentist suggests you need a nightguard, they will create it. Visit our dentist’s office in Randolph, MA, for custom-made nightguards.
While not recommended, some people opt to get a nightguard from a nearby drug store. While stock and boil-and-bite mouthguards are considered inexpensive, they don’t provide an effective custom-fit like the customized mouthguards from your dentist. Besides, these night guards tend to be bulky, affecting your saliva flow, misaligning your bite, and even causing breathing difficulties.
A customized nightguard from your dentist offers maximum protection and comfort for sleep bruxism than alternative mouthguards. You won’t also experience breathing or speaking problems. The nightguard is for your mouth for maximum comfort and durability.
In summary, using a sports guard for bruxism is not recommended because: