Stress is all around us lately. In the news, on social media, in the very upending of our daily routines. We may think that we have things under control, our emotions, our new way of life, our stress… but nighttime can sometimes tell a different story. When under immense amounts of stress, bouts of insomnia and tooth clenching and grinding can become part of daily life for many people. Add to this the inability to seek elective dental care amidst the global pandemic and it becomes extremely important to come up with temporary solutions to help people manage the pain and discomfort that comes along with tooth grinding and clenching.
How do you know if you are grinding and clenching? Even if you do not catch yourself in the act of clenching and grinding, there are other telltale signs that this may be the source of your the mouth and tooth discomfort. If you experience increased tooth pain and sensitivity or tightness or tenderness in the jaw joint or muscles then clenching and grinding may be to blame. Clenching and grinding can also be the cause of headaches or earaches, especially when they occur soon after waking.
While the product I’m going to review with you below is a good temporary solution, let me say that I recommend it only as a temporary solution and here is way. The material used for this type of night guard is what is called thermoplastic, this means that when it gets hot it can change shape. This allows one product to be able to be a custom fit for an unlimited number of people. The problem with this is that thermoplastic material has some drawbacks in the sense that it is too soft for use long term. Have a dental night guard made out of soft material not only means you can wear through it quicker, but the inherent flexibility this material provides means that it can cause your teeth to move and shift over time as the thermoplastic material can make minute changes and your teeth shift into these changes. This typically can only occur over a long period of time and this is why it is okay to use as a temporary solution. The type of night guard made for you by a dentist is similar in coverage and custom ability, but the material is a rigid acrylic making it more durable but inflexible which means it will not allow your teeth to move or shift.
Dentek Dental Guard Review
The opinions expressed in this review are my own and based on my own experience. This product was purchased by me, and at my own expense. I am not paid by Dentek to write this article or speak about their product.
As a temporary solution, let me offer my review of the Dentek Dental Guard, a DIY night guard you can make at home. After making this on myself, I used it several nights in a row to offer my review. The process of making the guard was extremely easy. Taking the night guard in and out of my mouth was also simple. The actual guard fit well over my top teeth and stayed in place, but could easily be dislodged on the back edges with my tongue and a little effort. This leads me to believe that while this DIY night guard fits really well for something made at home, it is not perfect. For anyone that grinds their teeth very aggressively at night, it is possible that the guard can rock from side to side or even become dislodged.
With that said, I feel that the Dentek guard fit rather comfortably for what it is, the softer material was somewhat spongy on the top so in the instances where I felt my teeth clenching together it was like clenching my teeth into a cushion which is a much gentler feeling than when I was just feeling tooth on tooth contact. I was able to adjust sleeping with it at night quite easily, although I will admit that it is rather bulky. It was certainly not a seamless transition to sleep with at night, but one that was manageable nonetheless. Upon waking the first morning after using it, I felt some localized soreness on a few teeth, likely the teeth I had been clenching, but I did not feel any soreness in my jaw muscles. The localized soreness on specific teeth seemed to get better as the week went on. Using the Dentek guard at night certainly does not get rid of my tooth clenching, but I feel that it helps distribute the forces applied to my teeth and mouth a bit better and definitely has helped loosen my jaw muscles which were previously very tight from clenching.
If you are wanting to try the DIY Dentek Dental Guard for yourself you can pick one up at your local Target, Walmart or Amazon (and likely many other places as well). The steps for making it are quite simple and can be easily managed alone. Here is a brief review of the steps you will need to take to make your night guard at home.
1.Boil a pot of water.
2. Allow water to cool for 10 seconds
3. Place dental guard material into plastic tray, concave side facing up
4. Place face down into the bowl of hot water for 45 seconds
5. Using a fork, pick up the plastic frame by the holding loop and run it under cold water for 10 seconds
6. Place guard into mouth, before biting down make sure the center is lined up directly between you two front teeth
7. Bite down fully into the material and hold for 2 minutes
8. Remove the guard from your mouth and run under cool water
9. Carefully teasing the ends back and forth, remove the set material from inside the plastic frame.
10. Try in the mouth guard to ensure it fits well, if it does not repeat previous steps to remelt the material and try again
Now that you have fabricated your guard, wear it every night, it typically takes 1-2 weeks of nightly wearing to adjust to feel completely comfortable sleeping with your night guard in
Now remember, this is meant to be just a temporary solution and you should consult with your dentist when dental offices reopen for normal business to discuss the necessity and process of fabricating a professionally made night guard. Remember to take care of yourself, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and exercise daily to also help with stress!
Dr. Mikaeya Kalantari has been a practicing pediatric dentist for over 7 years working in both the children's hospital setting and private practice. She has had a wealth of experience treating children of all ages, and medical conditions. When it comes to serving children, she feels the importance of communication between the dentist and parent can not be emphasized enough. Dr. Kalantari practices in her family owned dental office in Mission Viejo, California.