Author Topic: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding? (Read 5434 times)

Will

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Today I went to the dentist for the first time since Sept 2014 ( had a year of no insurance, thought my teeth would be fine for a year). The hygienist does the gum-measuring thing and says she thinks I have periodontal disease because of what she sees around one molar. However, the dentist says that it isn't from disease but from grinding my teeth while sleeping. The remedy is to use an occlusal guard and that they would be happy to make one for me. I ask them to check to see if my MetLife dental plan covers it, and of course the answer is no. I ask how much it would be and am told "three fifty." To clarify I ask if it is $3.50 or $350 and am told it is the latter. Holy shit! I am told that that is a discounted price, and insurance normally gets charge $650-700 for the same guard. I have an appointment to go back in on Monday for the fitting or whatever.

I did a quick Google search and it appears that there are other options out there for MUCH less (under $30 in some cases). I was wondering if anyone here uses the expensive dentist office variety or the cheaper drugstore variety? Would it make sense to spend more than 10 times as much? Any help/advice would be appreciated!
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WorkingToUnwind

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2016, 03:45:47 PM »
Biggest dentistry scam ever. Try these:

http://amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B003GDKH9C/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1452379416&sr=8-1&pi=SY200_QL40&keywords=plackers+grind+no+more&dpPl=1&dpID=51sw4fvAStL&ref=plSrch

Plackers grind no more $15 for 15. They're super comfy and keep you from grinding. If they don't work for you, but some of the other cheapo versions until you find ones that work.
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NinetyFour

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2016, 03:54:18 PM »
My dentist actually talked me out of getting one. Without using the exact words, he explained that they are basically ineffective and overpriced. Then he nicely asked me about the stress in my life.
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Frankies Girl

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2016, 03:55:24 PM »
I don't consider it a scam at all.

I have one made by my dentist, was not covered by insurance at all, and cost me $300. I am cheap the point of pain sometimes, but I am not risking my teeth/jaw to save a few bucks.

The big difference and costs associated with it is the guard is custom fitted and adjusted. They took a bite cast, made a mold from that, then created the bite guard out of extremely dense clear plastic. I had to come in and try it on, then bite down using marking paper to see wear spots and the dentist would file down the areas that might cause issues where teeth weren't squarely hitting, and it is built up enough to make sure that my entire bite is even across all of my teeth and won't cause me to push other teeth out of alignment during the night grinding. It fits very tightly on my lower teeth and there are no issues with rubbing or discomfort wearing it. I don't have to worry about it coming loose in my mouth and choking on it. After a few weeks, I hardly noticed wearing it unless I try to talk with it in - and I wear it every night without fail now.

I am on my second guard; the first one lasted just under 8 years. Since wearing them regularly, I no longer have worn enamel and sensitive spots (still have to use sensodyne toothpaste tho), but my jaw aches much less if ever, and I am no longer freaking out about grinding my teeth to dust or cracking one.

You can go ahead and try one of the cheaper non-custom ones and might be fine with it, but it won't be as well fitting, won't last nearly as long and won't be very comfortable. I figured that my teeth are super important to me having around a very long time, and I also value sleeping as comfortably as possible so it was worth the expense in my case.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2016, 07:00:43 PM by Frankies Girl »
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NinetyFour

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2016, 04:04:00 PM »
^ Interesting! I guess my situation wasn't as bad as yours, FG. Glad your device has helped to protect your teeth and jaw. Sounds like money well spent.
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Spork

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2016, 04:07:10 PM »
Buy a cheap one at the drug store and replace it when you chew through it.

I did one $300 dentist mouth guard. It lasted about 6 months. I then switched to diy guards. My dentist says they are working fine. I've been using the cheap version for about 17 years now.
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Jim2001

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2016, 04:34:13 PM »
Will,

I'm a +1 for the custom fit versions, and a price of $350 seems about right.

I've worn them for well over 20 years and basically can't sleep without it. I've tried the drug store versions, but never found one that was comfortable enough to wear all night. With that said, I have not tried any of the newer ones in quite a while, maybe they're better now. I think this is my third set, so that's about a 7 year lifespan.

So, let's look at things in mustachian terms.
The custom fit version is $350 and lasts about 7 years. That's about $50 per year.

The disposable ones on Amazon are $15 for a box of 14. The recommended use is three nights per unit. That's 42 days of use per box. With 365 days in a year, it means I'll need about 8.7 boxes per year. At $15 x 8.7, the annual cost is $130. If used for four nights instead of three, it's still an annual cost of $98. If we really stretched it and wore them 8 nights each we'd get to break even with a custom one.

My personal preference is the feel of the custom fit.
Cheers!

Jim

Spork

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2016, 05:13:41 PM »
Will,

I'm a +1 for the custom fit versions, and a price of $350 seems about right.

I've worn them for well over 20 years and basically can't sleep without it. I've tried the drug store versions, but never found one that was comfortable enough to wear all night. With that said, I have not tried any of the newer ones in quite a while, maybe they're better now. I think this is my third set, so that's about a 7 year lifespan.

So, let's look at things in mustachian terms.
The custom fit version is $350 and lasts about 7 years. That's about $50 per year.

The disposable ones on Amazon are $15 for a box of 14. The recommended use is three nights per unit. That's 42 days of use per box. With 365 days in a year, it means I'll need about 8.7 boxes per year. At $15 x 8.7, the annual cost is $130. If used for four nights instead of three, it's still an annual cost of $98. If we really stretched it and wore them 8 nights each we'd get to break even with a custom one.

My personal preference is the feel of the custom fit.

Just for a price comparison:
for me, the $350 version from the dentist lasts 6months to a year before I bite it in two.
for me, my Walmart version costs about $20 for 2 of them. They last about the same length of time.

Everyone is different, YMMV.
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Papa bear

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2016, 05:18:20 PM »
Yes, I use the dentist custom version. Insurance covered all but 50$ and I held off for a few years even at that. I forget to wear 50% of the time.

Quitting my job reduced my teeth grinding more than any device though. I suggest you FIRE instead!


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Beardog

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2016, 05:21:50 PM »
Following ...

(another user of a guard fitted by a dentist, but curious about alternatives)

CindyBS

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2016, 05:56:37 PM »
I have the custom version, but insurance paid.

I've had it for a few years and it is still in great shape.

green daisy

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2016, 07:50:58 PM »
I'm a dental hygienist. We do recommend OTC night guards for patients who decline the custom night guard. They are better than nothing. There are a few patients who like them, but the majority do not. With a custom night guard, the material is very hard, so when you clench down, your jaw will tend to relax. With the softer OTC night guards, the jaw has a tendency to clench down more rather than relaxing.

The night guards usually last several years but it really depends on how much a patient clenches/grinds. We have a woman who comes in for a new night guard every year.

That said, there are less ethical offices who will recommend night guards when they are not needed and some even offer bonuses to hygienists for selling night guards to patients.

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2016, 10:01:05 PM »
I had the prescription one. Hated it. After the first two weeks I used it irregularly and still but through it.

I'd suggest a reusable cheap one to decide if there's a chance you'll wear it, and maybe if you notice a difference.

If you do seem compliant, then start researching the custom ones.

But I've also switched dentists since then and not had the suggestion repeated. I had more tmj pain and headaches with biting into it than without.

Sailor Sam

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2016, 11:03:33 PM »
I grind my teeth while sleeping. Plus I have this thing where I snap my teeth together in my sleep. I frequently bite the inside of my cheek hard enough to bleed. Not a fun way to wake up. Over the years, I've used both OTC mouth guards, and a moulded night guard. I personally prefer the prescription one. For whatever reason, I clamped down harder on the OTC guard, which gave me dazzlingly bad headaches.

But, it's fairly cheep to get an OTC guard and test it out for a couple nights. If you like it, go with it. If you hate it, you can try the moulded night guard.

Green_Thing

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #14 on: January 10, 2016, 12:15:49 AM »
+1 for the real thing. If I sleep without it I wake up with a headache. I lost mine and tried an OTC for awhile. Too bulky and uncomfortable.

ltt

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2016, 04:55:05 AM »
Buy a cheap one at the drugstore first--Walgreen's, CVS, Rite-Aid, etc., wherever you live and give that a try. That's what I did. Typically, teeth grinding at night doesn't last long---til whatever stress you have in your life goes away. It will get you by in the meantime.

Frs1661

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2016, 05:10:35 AM »
I use the plackers linked up thread and am totally satisfied. I replace them about monthly (~$20/yr)

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WorkingToUnwind

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2016, 06:45:56 AM »
Will,

I'm a +1 for the custom fit versions, and a price of $350 seems about right.

I've worn them for well over 20 years and basically can't sleep without it. I've tried the drug store versions, but never found one that was comfortable enough to wear all night. With that said, I have not tried any of the newer ones in quite a while, maybe they're better now. I think this is my third set, so that's about a 7 year lifespan.

So, let's look at things in mustachian terms.
The custom fit version is $350 and lasts about 7 years. That's about $50 per year.

The disposable ones on Amazon are $15 for a box of 14. The recommended use is three nights per unit. That's 42 days of use per box. With 365 days in a year, it means I'll need about 8.7 boxes per year. At $15 x 8.7, the annual cost is $130. If used for four nights instead of three, it's still an annual cost of $98. If we really stretched it and wore them 8 nights each we'd get to break even with a custom one.

My personal preference is the feel of the custom fit.

Just for a price comparison:
for me, the $350 version from the dentist lasts 6months to a year before I bite it in two.
for me, my Walmart version costs about $20 for 2 of them. They last about the same length of time.

Everyone is different, YMMV.

I've been using the same packers guard for 6-months, contrary to the recommendations on the box. It's starting to get beat up so I'll replace it soon, but 2/year is $2/year. How long they last depends on the amount of grinding you have. My mom grinds too and loves these. I'd try a couple of the cheaper versions before splurging on the custom one. My dentist said either type is fine, as long as you wear it.
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neophyte

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2016, 06:49:17 AM »
I've got a cheapo. ~$30 for 2 at CVS I think. My dentist office recommended it and said that if I don't like it I should consider getting fitted for one there. At my next visit they asked how it was going. My biggest complaints were general 'annoyingness' and waking up with it poking my kidneys. The hygienist told me that the professionally fitted ones won't be much better in terms of me ripping them out or spitting them out in my sleep. She recommended a lightweight OTC one or just giving it more time to get used to it.

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2016, 06:50:36 AM »
Yes, I use the dentist custom version. Insurance covered all but 50$ and I held off for a few years even at that. I forget to wear 50% of the time.

Quitting my job reduced my teeth grinding more than any device though. I suggest you FIRE instead!


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Very good point!! My grinding is closely tied with my stress level, too. That's the case for many. It went down substantially after I completed my education. No more finals, taking out student loans, and career uncertainty helped more than the guards.
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Roots&Wings

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2016, 06:50:54 AM »
I broke the really expensive dentist one in a few months. Been using this inexpensive one for years and works great.

Mmm_Donuts

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2016, 07:06:32 AM »
I got my custom night guard when I had insurance. It was expensive but it's now 15 years old and still going strong. I wear it every night, and I'm a pretty heavy grinder.

pachnik

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2016, 07:10:24 AM »
I've had 2 custom night guards. I replaced the first one after about 12 years. My old dentist recommended it and he was very non-aggressive in his treatments. I paid for the second one during a time when I had no dental insurance and it came to $400.00.

forestj

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2016, 09:13:40 AM »
I use this one after I broke the first custom fit one that my parents paid for. It works fine. They will eventually split and break, but I think I generally only wear out about one or two a year.

http://stockngo.com/products.php?product=DenTek-Maximum-Protection-Dental-Guard-1-ea&gclid=Cj0KEQiAn8i0BRDur-HV1PCTy4UBEiQAPuFr9AWF3sTEP55ea9falpUZCoIYU-eZ1D2enpd_HHaeI7UaAgl-8P8HAQ#.VpKCzlmpm70

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2016, 01:08:25 PM »
If you buy an OTC one, be very careful about fit.

I used an OTC one for years and years...and it turns out it wasn't the right for me. It contributed to my need for braces at the age of 32. Now that the braces have come off, the ortho insists I sleep with a custom positioner, which is running me about $300/year.

I "saved" the $300/year for 10 years by buying the cheap stuff, and then got to spend $5k on braces.
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frugaliknowit

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #25 on: January 12, 2016, 01:43:40 PM »
My dentist custom made one (from a mold from my mouth) for about $60. I've had it for maybe 4 years, still good.

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #26 on: January 12, 2016, 05:21:13 PM »
I have a custom-made one. It cost about $350 and insurance didn't cover it. I don't have any jaw pain, but my dentist says she saw wear and strongly recommended one. I find the custom-made one uncomfortable and couldn't find enough published research saying they were effective, so I quit wearing it. My dentist is unhappy, but she'll survive.

YMMV - if you have jaw pain, it may make a big difference.

expatartist

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2016, 06:24:11 PM »
Just had a custom made one in Thailand while getting other dental work done. Dentists have recommended them to me for years. It ran ~US$50 or so. Actually have been terrible about wearing it. Fits fine, but it's just another thing to think about at night time.
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Will

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #28 on: January 12, 2016, 07:19:37 PM »
Hello everyone, OP here. I decided to go with the custom dentist office version. I talked to 2 people who got their guards at the dentist office I use, and one has had hers for 8 years and the other for 3 (so far). I like the idea of it being custom made specifically for me, and if there are any issues I should be able to go back and get things taken care of. I asked if it comes with any kind of guarantee, and while I was told no, if anything happened in the first year to definitely let them know so they can take care of it.
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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #29 on: January 12, 2016, 07:34:57 PM »
For future reference you can get a custom fitted night guard on Amazon if you feel like you could manage the form casting process yourself. I've had a dentist office version (before the dog ate it) and I don't think it would be that complicated. For now I'm using one of those sports mouth guards that you boil so they fit your teeth. It was too bulky so I took a Dremel to it, and it's worked well for several months now for less than $5. When I tried those ones that weren't custom fitted I had dreams all night about my teeth falling out.

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #30 on: January 12, 2016, 11:18:43 PM »
Hi all, I'm a dentist.

OP, I think you made a good decision. Sorry I didn't see this thread to chime in sooner.

OTC night guards have their place, but you really do "get what you pay for". As a starting point, consider that my lab bill alone for a night guard is far more than any of the OTC prices that have been thrown around here. And IN GENERAL, most of my patients are dissatisfied with the OTC night guards they have tried. That being said, they are super cheap and can work for "temporary" night guards or to see if patients will be able to tolerate a night guard at all. If they can tolerate an OTC night guard, they will likely LOVE a custom one by comparison. There are a few patients who prefer the OTCs, but in my experience, they are a small minority.

As for the value of a night guard, they are absolutely worth it if your teeth show a pattern of clenching or grinding. The bite forces involved in this night-time habit are staggering. Parafuncitonal bite forces dwarf the forces used in chewing even very hard foods. We're talking an order of magnitude here. That's why they produce such significant tooth wear. Rebuilding that tooth wear is, again, orders of magnitude more expensive than preventing it. Heck - even if you prevent one single tooth from fracturing, you just saved yourself a $1000 crown.

As for how long they last... this is a textbook example of YMMV. It all depends on how severe your clenching/grinding habit is. The worst I've ever seen is a classmate in dental school who wore through custom ones about every 6 months. In my own practice, I've got one patient who breaks/wears through them every 1.5 years like clockwork. Then at the other extreme, I've seen patients bring in 15 year old night guards that still have plenty of life left in them. I would consider 5-9 years to be average. Unfortunately, another factor contributing to such discrepancy in longevity is that not all custom night guards are equal. I've been disappointed to see patients occasionally bring in "night guards" from previous dentists that are little more than flimsy retainers. These are fortunately few and far between, but if your "night guard" is less than 1mm thick...

One final word on night guards is that the ones I've been discussing are for bruxism/tooth wear. TMD/joint issues are a whole different ball-game and I refer those patients to a specialist (who charges 4-5x the typical "night guard" rates for his appliances). The TMJ is one of the most complicated joints in the body and creating a positioning appliance that stands a good chance of improving dysfunction in this joint is VERY complicated - often involving special 3D imaging of the jaw joint, TENS unit analysis, doppler... the list goes on. Occasionally, these patients can get lucky and an OTC night guard or bruxism night guard (like I've been talking about above) may coincidentally put their jaw in a position that reduces muscle firing or stabilizes the joint, but it also might put it in a worse position. Without sophisticated analysis, it's really just throwing darts.

Those are my general thoughts on night guards. Always, the best bet is to ask YOUR dentists who can look at YOUR teeth/joint and give advice specific to your needs.

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #31 on: January 13, 2016, 12:42:08 AM »
I am a grinder and mine has lasted 10+ years. Bought some of those cheap ones and they lasted only a couple months. YMMV.

Once your teeth are worn down from grinding, there isn't a reset button. Get something ASAP. Consider other options later. An ounce of prevention is worth a mouth of teeth.

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Re: Anyone use an occlusal guard/mouth guard to prevent teeth-grinding?
« Reply #32 on: January 13, 2016, 04:04:02 PM »
I used a series of cheap ($2) mouth guards from sports stores but was usually unhappy with the fit and how bulky it was. After my second pregnancy loss I spent some money on my self for some cosmetic-ish things to help me feel a bit better. At this time I got both teeth whitening and a fitted mouth guard at the dentist.

Interestingly, I have found that I prefer the thin plastic trays that I got to do touch-up teeth whitening at home as a mouth guard over the custom made true mouth guard. All of the official mouth guards I have tried have all been too thick. This means that my lips don't close completely at night which in turn means that I drool on myself when sleeping on my side. Not only is this gross, but it can lead to a rash if I stay pressed up against a drool-y pillow for too long.

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