Mouth guards/dental guards/night guards, whatever

Several years ago, my dentist informed me that I have been grinding my teeth (bruxism?) and should wear a dental guard. I submitted to the unpleasant moulding process and shelled out nearly $200 and got one, and I was reasonably happy with it until I took it in for cleaning and it freaking shrank! I was pissed, so I refused to shell out for another one. Since then, I’ve been picking up the $20 to $25 ones at the pharmacy that you boil and mould by hand, but they don’t seem last long. When I’ve got a foreign object in my mouth, my gag reflex goes crazy, and I really have to chomp down on the thing to keep from gagging. The result is that I’ve been chewing through my dental guards at an alarming rate. Anyone got any ideas? Brand recommendations?

I’ve had a mouth guard for going on 15 years now. I paid about $350 for it in maybe 1993. My dentist recommended it because of grinding.

I’ve never brought it in “for cleaning.” I do periodically clean it with my toothbrush and toothpaste, and my dentist has never mentioned it needing anything more than that.

What it does need to be brought in for is periodic adjustments as my jaw/grinding pattern changed. It’s amazingly adjustable - I just got it adjusted again, after not wearing it for over ten years (my grinding stopped, then just started again.) The dentist was able to adjust it so it fit my very-much-changed mouth.

I guess I’d question just what kind of guard you got that 1) only cost $200 (my dentist told me the current price for one similar to mine is like $600!) and 2) needs professional cleaning.

Weird. Typo Knig and I both wear bite guards for the same reason you do, and we’ve never been asked to take them in for cleaning!

I tended to chew through mine in 2-3 years; Typo Knig’s first one lasted 12+ years before it needed to be replaced. He tried an over-the-counter one such as you mention, to have a spare for travelling, but he was never able to get it to fit right.

I had a lot of trouble getting used to mine. Not from gag reflex (which is surprising, as generally my gag reflex is very sensitive), but the sensation of something in my mouth made me feel like I couldn’t breathe. Totally fake, I could breathe fine, but it took years before the benefit (less tooth pain) made the “can’t breathe” sensation bearable enough to actually wear the thing regularly.

My husband wears one. He just rinses/brushes it every morning and occasionally puts it in a glass with a denture cleaning tablet.

It shrank? Odd. Mine changes. It’s made of a material that will shift if it’s warmed, though, so when it doesn’t fit I run hot water over it until it’s softened and then pop it into my mouth. It’s never been so out of alignment that that hasn’t worked.

I hesitate to ask, but did you try the heat and re-fitting thing?

Ditto what others have said. My first one lasted about 10 years. Just got a new one a few months ago, it was about $500 (my new insurance doesn’t cover it, grump). My dentist recommends cleaning it with denture tablets so I buy a king-size box of Efferdent every few months for about $8 and I’m good to go. Drop it in the container each morning, rinse off each night. No muss, no fuss.

I grind so hard that I used to wake my brother up when we were roomates, and we slept in different rooms on opposite ends of our apartment with our doors shut. It’s some sort of miracle that I still have teeth, and again by some sort of power I don’t understand, they’re not really visibly damaged at all.

The first few guards I had I would just spit out as soon as I fell asleep. The dentist would keep making them tighter and tighter until my teeth hurt so bad in the morning it wasn’t even worth it. I spent years and hundreds (thousands?) of dollars trying to solve this problem. Finally I switched dentists and my new dentist said let’s try one that goes on the bottom. I haven’t spit it out yet.

A tip for all the grinders out there: This has actually elimanted a lot of my friends’ and family members’ grinding altogether, and has cut mine probably 80% - take magnesium supplements. I know it sounds like a quacky all natural snake oil “cure” but I swear to god it works, and it’s a water soluble essential mineral anyway, so just don’t take more than 100% of your daily value and you’ve got nothing to lose. It’s cheap, too. You can find it at your grocery store but it’s cheaper at Wal-Mart. I’m talkin’ 5 bucks for a 3-month supply cheap.

Glad you posted about this. I hadn’t even thought about a tablet for mine. Good idea. Mine is acrylic and has not changed shape in any noticeable way. I don’t grind, but I do clench my jaw.