Tag Archives: bruxism

Custom Nightguards vs. OTC: What’s Best for Your Teeth?

If you’ve ever experienced jaw pain, morning headaches, or worn-down teeth, you might be dealing with bruxism – a condition where you grind or clench your teeth. Nightguards can offer relief, but with options ranging from custom-fitted guards to over-the-counter (OTC) solutions, deciding which is best for you can be challenging. Let’s compare custom nightguards to OTC solutions to help you make an informed choice.

Understanding Bruxism

Bruxism can lead to various oral health issues, including tooth sensitivity, broken teeth, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Nightguards are often recommended as a preventative measure to protect your teeth from the damaging effects of grinding.

Custom Nightguards

Custom nightguards are explicitly designed for your mouth. A dentist takes an impression of your teeth and then creates a nightguard tailored to your bite. Here are some benefits of custom nightguards:

  1. Perfect Fit: Since they are molded to fit your teeth, custom nightguards offer superior comfort and effectiveness. They stay in place better than OTC options, reducing discomfort and ensuring better protection.
  2. Durability: Made from high-quality materials, custom nightguards tend to last longer. They are built to withstand the forces of grinding and clenching, providing long-term protection.
  3. Customization: A dentist can customize the thickness and material of your nightguard based on the severity of your bruxism and your specific needs.

Over-the-counter (OTC) Nightguards

OTC nightguards are readily available at pharmacies and are a more affordable option. These are pre-formed or “boil-and-bite” types, where you soften the material in hot water and then bite into it to create an impression of your teeth. Here are some pros and cons of OTC nightguards:

  1. Affordability: OTC nightguards are less expensive upfront than custom-fitted ones, making them accessible for people on a budget.
  2. Convenience: You can purchase an OTC nightguard easily without needing a dental appointment, making it a quick solution.
  3. Fit and Comfort: OTC nightguards often don’t fit as well as custom ones. They might feel bulky or uncomfortable, leading to inconsistent use and reduced effectiveness.
  4. Durability: The materials used in OTC nightguards are generally less durable than those in custom nightguards, meaning they may need to be replaced more frequently.

Which One Is Best for You?

Choosing between custom nightguards and OTC solutions depends on your needs and circumstances. Custom nightguards invest in your long-term oral health, providing a perfect fit and durable protection. If you experience severe bruxism, TMJ disorders, or have specific dental needs, a custom nightguard is likely the best option.

On the other hand, if you have mild bruxism or are looking for a temporary solution, an OTC nightguard might suffice. However, you must ensure that any nightguard you use fits well and doesn’t cause additional discomfort or dental issues.

Consult with Carolina Family Dentistry

For the best results, consult a dental professional who can evaluate your condition and recommend the most suitable nightguard. Dr. Ron Banik and his team are here to help. With their expertise, you can get a custom nightguard designed to provide optimal protection and comfort.

Schedule an appointment for a consultation with our team today. Don’t let bruxism impact your quality of life – take the first step towards better oral health today!

Refer to this comprehensive guide for additional information on the importance of mouthguards and their various types.

Investing in the right nightguard is investing in your long-term oral health. Whether you choose a custom nightguard or an OTC solution, protecting your teeth from the effects of bruxism is crucial. Contact us today to find out which option is best for you!

Why Does My Jaw Hurt? A Guide to Bruxism.


You roll over, yawn, stretch, and…YIKES!  You rub your jaw thoughtfully, trying to ease the soreness. What the heck? Why does my jaw hurt? Pain or discomfort happens to most of us sometimes, but it may be time to talk to your dentist if it’s frequently happening. Various things can cause a sore jaw in the morning. Your dentist can do an examination and diagnose the cause of the pain. It could be a sign of Bruxism; if left untreated, it can have long-term consequences.


What Is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a fancy medical term for grinding your teeth at night. It’s a common reaction to stress and anxiety, so it may be temporary and nothing to worry about. But if it happens often and over an extended period, it can cause broken teeth and damage your jaw. It’s important to let your dentist know if you are experiencing frequent jaw pain, so she can watch for signs and provide treatment before you have lasting damage.


What Causes Bruxism?

The primary cause of Bruxism is stress and anxiety. In children, bullying, abuse, or other trauma are examples. Parents should immediately investigate if they notice their child clenching their jaw or grinding their teeth (awake or asleep). Children often grow out of grinding their teeth, but if trauma is the underlying cause of the condition, address it as soon as possible.


In adults, various stressors, such as work, relationships, financial difficulties, etc., are also factors. It may be a common reaction to a temporary living situation. Still, if it continues for an extended time, it could be a symptom of a sleep disorder, an anxiety disorder, or other mental health issues. If you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health condition, you must notify your dentist so she can monitor its effect on your teeth.

What Can I Do?

The most common treatment for Bruxism is wearing a mouth guard or dental correction splints. The first step is to contact The Dental Care Center to schedule an exam. Your dentist can mold your teeth and construct a mouth guard to protect you against tooth and jaw damage. Other treatments could be considered, including addressing and managing stress and anxiety through meditation, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and other therapies for sleep disorders. Medications have not proven very effective in treating Bruxism, but if other treatments fail, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants, Botox injections, or medications for anxiety and stress.

5 Signs You Need a Nightguard to Protect Against Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a sensation that usually occurs while a patient is sleeping. Teeth grinding is a common problem; It affects 10 percent of people and as many as 15 percent of children, according to the American Sleep Association.

When this occurs, it means you’re grinding your teeth unknowingly, which can lead to jaw soreness and headaches. If you continue to grind your teeth and don’t seek treatment, you can have more severe problems, such as misalignment and cracked or damaged teeth. However, with proper treatment, it’s not a serious problem, and a nightguard is an easy treatment solution.

People often ask whether they need a nightguard. You may not realize you’re grinding your teeth because, of course, you’re asleep! Here are some signs that you should try a nightguard.

  1. You often wake up with a headache, jaw soreness and/or a popping or clicking sound in your jaw. Headaches and jaw soreness are the most common signs of grinding your teeth in your sleep. These two symptoms, combined with an abnormal sound coming from your jaw, are significant signs of teeth grinding.
  2.  You are experiencing stress or anxiety. Stress and anxiety are the leading causes of teeth grinding; they can cause you to clench your jaw while sleeping. If you have been experiencing stress and/or anxiety and have noticed other symptoms of teeth grinding, you should make an appointment with Dr. Banik to discuss getting fitted for a nightguard.
  3. You have an abnormal bite or crooked and/or missing teeth. If you have an abnormal bite or crooked and/or missing teeth, you are more prone to teeth grinding. Action does not need to be taken if you are not experiencing symptoms, but if you are, it is a good idea to make an appointment.
  4. You have a sleep disorder. Patients who have sleep disorders can experience teeth grinding. If you have a sleep disorder such as Sleep Apnea, contact us to discuss solutions.
  5. Your partner complains about it. Some people grind their teeth so loudly their partner can hear it. If yours reports hearing crunching or odd sounds, talk to your dentist.

About Nightguards
A nightguard is a thin, durable mouth insert that keeps you from grinding your teeth at night. They are slightly different than a mouthguard you might wear for sports. Nightguards protect a patient’s teeth while also being comfortable enough to wear while sleeping.

We recommend a custom Nightguard for the best fit. You can order nightguards online, but they won’t fit well, making it uncomfortable to wear.

During your visit with us, the team will take an impression of your teeth. The material is shaped around the mold and made sure to fit perfectly around your teeth impressions. The impression process only takes a few minutes, and we’ll call you back in a week or two to try it out so we can confirm a good fit. Dr. Banik will also talk to you about proper usage and care.

If you think you might be grinding your teeth, contact us for an appointment or ask us about it during your next dental visit.

Bruxism: Do You Clench and Grind Your Teeth?

A habit that many people have and might not even know it is clenching and grinding the teeth, otherwise known as bruxism. Bruxism can lead to enamel erosion, broken teeth, lost fillings, and pain. The tricky thing about it is that many tend to do it in their sleep, which means they might not be aware that it’s even occurring until damage has been done. Read on to find out the signs that you are clenching and grinding, along with tips on what to do about it.

Signs of Bruxism

You might catch yourself clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth during the day. Or you might not know that you’re doing it. One sign of grinding in your sleep is jaw pain and headaches in the morning. Another is that your molars feel tender. Finally, if you have a sleeping partner, he or she might complain that you are making grinding sounds in your sleep. Your dentist will be able to tell if you are grinding your teeth because your enamel will often wear down on your molars.

Reducing Stress

Many people who grind and clench their teeth do so as a reaction to stress. Today’s lifestyles tend to be stressful: Work, children, household chores, volunteer positions, errands, and going back to school as an adult all can pile up and make us feel very overwhelmed. Bruxism becomes a habit much like nail-biting or smoking in times of stress.

You can reduce stress by being aware of it. Exercising daily can reduce stress and bruxism. So can getting enough sleep. Yoga and meditation are more strategies to try.

Getting a Mouthguard

In the meantime, your dentist can fit you for a mouthguard, which is a removable appliance that you wear while you sleep. You can grind your teeth against it and it will help prevent tooth damage and pain.

If you believe you are clenching and grinding your teeth, give us a call to schedule an appointment. We can fit you for a mouthguard and let you know about any dental work that needs to be done.