When considering getting the best mouthguard for jaw clenching, there are various important factors to look into. Nevertheless, the ideal mouthguards depend on the underlying cause and severity of the clenching, as some people have minor, moderate, or even severe clenching issues.
This article will help you to get the best mouthguards you can use for jaw clenching by exploring:
- What jaw clenching is and how mouthguards can help alleviate the condition;
- Top mouthguards used for jaw clenching;
- How to choose the best mouthguard for jaw clenching;
- Other ways you can manage jaw clenching.
Understanding Jaw Clenching
According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, jaw clenching, also known as bruxism, refers to the strong and sustained contraction of the jaw muscles, causing the upper and lower teeth to come tightly together. This condition often involves a static and compressive force exerted by the jaw muscles, which results in constant pressure on the teeth.
Although jaw clenching is often used interchangeably with teeth grinding, they have some distinct differences.
Teeth grinding, which is also a form of bruxism, specifically refers to the act of forcefully rubbing or grinding teeth together. This movement mainly happens in a back-and-forth or side-to-side motion. Teeth grinding can occur during the day or, more commonly, during sleep.
From the above descriptions, you can see the distinct differences between jaw clenching and teeth grinding. In jaw clenching, the contractions from the jaw muscles force the upper and lower teeth to come together tightly. However, no grinding happens.
Although these two conditions can affect one simultaneously, jaw clenching is static, while teeth grinding involves movement. Nevertheless, these problems can be resolved using a good NTI night guard.
Factors Contributing to Jaw Clenching
There are numerous factors that may lead to jaw clenching, including:
- Stress and anxiety: Psychological factors like stress and anxiety can trigger jaw clenching, as it can be a subconscious response to such psychological stressors.
- Bite irregularities: An abnormal bite can cause the jaw to exert excessive pressure, leading to jaw clenching.
- Sleep disorders: Sleep disorders like sleep apnea might increase the chances of developing jaw clenching.
- Jaw injury: People that have experienced Jaw and muscle sprain/ strain (JAMSS) are at a high risk of developing jaw tension and clenching.
- TMJ disorders: There is a strong connection between TMJ disorders and jaw clenching.
Symptoms of Jaw Clenching
Jaw clenching occurs when the upper and lower jaws come close together, exerting lots of pressure. In most cases, the most distinct symptom of jaw clenching is feeling pain. However, not all jaw clenching conditions cause pain to the individuals.
So, how else can you know that you have jaw clenching issues?
Here are some other symptoms to watch out for:
- Teeth grinding or clenching sounds: Such sounds may be audible during sleep and may be noticed by someone else.
- Tooth damage: Excessive jaw clenching has significant effects on your teeth, leading to wear and tear, chipping, and even causing fractures.
- Morning jaw stiffness: Some individuals may experience stiffness within the jaw joints upon waking up. This might be a symptom of jaw clenching.
- Facial fatigue: Continuous muscle contractions that lead to jaw clenching may lead to one getting a fatigued or tired-looking face.
- Tooth sensitivity: Due to jaw clenching, grinding your teeth may lead to tooth sensitivity, especially to hot or cold stimuli.
It would be prudent to note that you don’t have to experience all these symptoms to know whether you have jaw clenching. If you get any of the symptoms above, it is recommended to consult with a dental professional for an accurate diagnosis.
Mouth Guards and Jaw Clenching: Exploring the Benefits
Mouthguards act as the first line of defense against jaw clenching. They offer a simple, non-invasive solution, helping the affected individuals alleviate the symptoms of jaw clenching.
Here are some of the ways having a mouthguard for jaw clenching can help:
- Cushioning and protection: Mouthguards act as a barrier between the upper and lower sets of teeth. They prevent the teeth from grinding or clenching, and by cushioning the individual from such impacts, they help to prevent and reduce tooth damage.
- Muscular relaxation: Mouthguards may also provide a stable and more comfortable position for the jaw to rest on, promoting muscular relaxation.
- Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) support: Mouthguards can provide support to the TMJ, which connects the jawbone to the skull. By creating a balanced and aligned bite, TMJ mouthguards reduce the strain on the TMJ, potentially alleviating TMJ disorders and associated pain.
- Sleep quality improvement: Wearing a mouthguard can significantly improve sleep quality, especially for people that experience jaw clenching when they sleep. This can also be helpful to your partner, whose sleep cycle is not disturbed by the noises generated by teeth grinding.
Top Mouth Guards for Jaw Clenching
Finding the right mouthguard is crucial for effectively managing jaw clenching. It is important to get a mouthguard that will not only prevent the symptoms of jaw clenching, like pain and damage to the teeth but also one that does not distract you from sleeping peacefully.
While there are numerous mouthguards that you may use for alleviating the symptoms of jaw clenching, here are the best options to consider:
Pro Teeth Guard
Pro Teeth Guard is a custom-made mouthguard designed to provide optimal protection and relief from jaw clenching. It is created using high-quality elasticized acrylic materials, which are firm to protect you against jaw clenching and flexible for optimal comfort.
This is a product that often leads the pack when talking about mouthguards. Check out our extensive Pro Teeth Guard review for more.
- Custom-made for a perfect fit and offer effectiveness to individual users.
- Multi-layered construction offering a soft inner layer for comfort and a hard outer layer for optimal protection and durability.
- Made from safe BPA-free and latex-free materials
- Requires dental impressions, which may be challenging and time-consuming for some.
Sporting Smiles is one of the leading online dental manufacturers of custom dental products, including mouthguards. Their mouthguards can prevent and alleviate jaw clenching symptoms, ensuring you get a more peaceful night’s sleep.
The mouthguards for jaw clenching from Sporting Smiles work by surrounding the soft tissues from injury caused by grinding and clenching. There are different materials and types to choose from, making you spoiled for choice, especially when looking for the best mouthguards for kids.
- A wider variety of mouthguards to choose from.
- Custom-made mouthguards for extra comfort and effectiveness.
- Fairly priced, offering you value for your money.
- A brief warranty period of only 30 days.
- Requires taking impressions, which might be challenging for certain individuals.
JS Dental Lab is a popular manufacturer of custom night guards for people with bruxism. Using these mouthguards can alleviate the symptoms of jaw clenching, which is one of the key results of bruxism.
By using impressions of your teeth, JS Dental Lab can design and create a mouthguard specifically to resolve your individual needs.
- Made out of highly durable and comfortable materials.
- These mouthguards offer cost-effectiveness, as you get what you could have gotten from your dentist at a fraction of the price.
- Excellent customer service.
- You are required to take impressions of your teeth, which can be time-consuming and challenging for some people.
- Although the mouthguards are made of comfortable materials, some users often report a longer adjustment period with this model.
SmartGuard RX Dental Care
If you do not fancy having to take impressions of your teeth as required by various mail-order brands, you may opt for SmartGuard RX Dental Guard. This is an over-the-counter mouthguard designed to alleviate the effects of jaw clenching and teeth grinding.
Although impressions are not necessary, this mouthguard for jaw clenching also offers a customizable fit using the boil-and-bite method. What’s more, this mouthguard has a patented design that prevents contact with the back teeth, further alleviating the symptoms of jaw clenching by relaxing the muscles.
- One-size-fits-all design, as you can customize the product on your own without lengthy procedures.
- Easy to mold design.
- Ideal for both daytime and nighttime use.
- Slim design for extra comfort.
- While customizable, the boil-and-bite method may not offer the same level of precision as custom-made mouthguards.
- Over time, the mouthguard may show signs of wear and tear more quickly than custom options.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Mouth Guards for Jaw Clenching
There are numerous types of mouthguards, all differing in their fit, style, and pricing, among other factors. By understanding these considerations, you can narrow down your list and find the most comfortable and effective mouthguard to help with jaw clenching issues.
Here are the top factors to consider when choosing a mouthguard for jaw clenching issues:
A good mouthguard should have a perfect fit in your mouth. It shouldn’t be too thick or bulky to create discomfort or too loose, making it difficult to keep in place.
Custom-fit models are ideal, as they ensure the mouthguard stays in place without causing any discomfort to you.
While most top-quality mouthguards are made of durable materials, others use cheaper plastic, which may not be long-lasting. Moreover, you should also consider going for products made of safe components and ensure they are BPA-free and latex-free.
Although comfort may be subjective, it is important to go for a product with the user in mind. Depending on your level of jaw clenching, you might get soft, moderately hard, or hard mouthguards. Moreover, to boost your comfort, you may have to consider a night guard with braces, especially if you are on orthodontic treatment.
Nevertheless, ensure they are multi-layered (with a soft interior and a hard exterior) to perfectly balance comfort and durability.
Ease of maintenance
Consider mouthguards that are easy to clean, use, and maintain. Consider any specific instructions for care and storage options provided by the brand. A mouthguard that is easy to clean and use ensures high hygiene standards and a prolonged lifespan.
Consider your budget before settling on a mouthguard brand. However, you should also consider other related factors, like the severity of your condition and customization requirements. People with severe jaw clenching may need to replace the mouthguards more often as they are prone to wear and tear. Moreover, custom-made mouthguards cost more than standard boil-and-bite models.
Additional Strategies for Managing Jaw Clenching
In addition to using mouthguards for jaw clenching, there are various strategies you can incorporate into your routine for improved effectiveness. These strategies address the underlying causes of jaw clenching, such as stress and anxiety.
Here are some additional techniques to consider:
- Stress management: Since stress is a common trigger for jaw clenching, adopting stress management techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, and yoga, can be beneficial.
- Jaw muscle relaxation exercises: Practicing jaw muscle relaxation exercises can help alleviate tension in the jaw. Simple techniques like gently massaging the jaw muscles with your fingertips, applying warm compresses to the jaw area, and performing gentle jaw stretches can help significantly.
- Avoiding trigger foods and drinks: Did you know that certain foods and drinks, such as caffeine, alcohol, and hard or chewy foods, can exacerbate jaw clenching? Limiting or avoiding these triggers can reduce the frequency and intensity of jaw clenching.
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a form of therapy in that a qualified therapist can guide you in identifying and modifying thought patterns and behaviors. It can help manage jaw clenching by addressing underlying psychological factors.
It is important to note that while mouthguards can help alleviate jaw clenching symptoms, they do not treat the condition. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan that works on the root factors causing the problem.
Yes, mouthguards are effective in helping with jaw clenching. They provide a physical barrier between the upper and lower teeth, reducing the impact of clenching and grinding.
Yes, mouthguards are considered a good solution for clenching. They are designed to provide cushioning, absorb the forces generated by clenching, and help promote a more relaxed jaw position.
Both upper and lower mouthguards can be effective for clenching teeth, and the choice depends on individual preferences and needs.