People with bruxism who clench or grind their teeth when they are asleep often wake up with a headache. The trigger for the headaches is the stiff neck muscles that are developed when they grind their teeth at night. The pain of the headaches centers on the back and the sides of the head where the temporalis muscle lies.
If the dull and deep headache is felt, it may be caused by the problem on the stem from the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. TMJ is found on each side of the head. It is in front of the ear that connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull. It has an articular disk that is purposed to help smooth movement of this joint. A heavy blow to the jaw may cause painful disorder. The pain will also be felt on the jaw joint, neck, shoulders, around ear when speaking, chewing, or open mouth wide and like tenderness in the face.
When the TMJ hasn’t been affected by the teeth grinding habit, the use of a dental night guard can be a solution for people with bruxism to stop headaches from grinding teeth. The mouth guard is a small piece of hard plastic or rubber custom-fitted to the upper teeth. If TMJ disorder has been there, usually dentist will advise patients to use splints or undergo surgery for the worst case.
How to Choose a Mouth Guard for Bruxism
A mouth guard is also called occlusal splint, bruxism splint, night guard, occlusal devices, and dental orthoses.
To get bruxism solution patients would go to see a dentist, and their dentist would make a custom mouth guard for them to use at night. Patients might need to go back to a dentist visit again and again when the mouth guard doesn’t fit properly in their mouth. Of course it takes time and much of money.
As an alternative bruxism patients can go to pharmacist and ask for a custom-fit mouth guard. Even though choosing a pharmacist’ mouth guard sounds simple and easier, because they are available in stores, it has to be done very carefully. The wrong mouth guard may cause teeth to wear faster and the worst case is jaw pain.
There are two kinds of mouth guard that have been widely used by bruxism patients. They are Boil and Bite and Custom made mouth guard. Even though there’s only little scientific study to prove the effectiveness of the mouth guard, these are today’s best solution to help bruxism.
Custom Made Mouth Guard
The structure and texture of this type of mouth guard is made from the shape and impression of patient’s teeth. The quality of this mouth guard is excellent, durable and comfortable. Traditionally people could only get this mouth guard from dental office, but now dental labs supply the custom made mouth guard and reach customers directly. It saves patients’ money up to $500.
Boil and Bite Mouth Guard
Boil and Bite mouth guard is over the counter mouth guard. Pharmacies also supply this type of mouth guard. It is a “one size fit all” plastic mouth guard and is called “Boil and Bite” because patients have to boil the mouth guard in water before biting into it. This type of mouth guard is less expensive, but the size is not for every one. Some may feel it too big, while others find it too small for their mouth. Other than that reason, this mouth guard doesn’t last as long.
Custom Made Mouth Guard Is Recommended
Even though patients use the mouth guard only at night, this device is detected as a foreign body by the other mouth’s components. It takes time for the mouth to tolerate the device. Patients will even find it useful when they feel the mouth guard coexist in harmony with the mouth’s components. If not, people will never use a mouth guard in their life. Therefore, using custom made mouth guard is recommended. This mouth guard properly fits to the size, texture, and impression of each patient.
When the custom mouth guard is delivered to patients, there are still some requirements to meet.
- A custom made mouth guard should not be too thick. It should take less space in the mouth to prevent soreness and pain.
- Patients should feel comfortable wearing it for long hours.
- A mouth guard should cover all teeth and surround the edge of teeth. If the mouth guard doesn’t cover the back of the mouth, it might cause an open bite.
If patients find their mouth guards do not meet these requirements, their pharmacists or dental labs should fix to make it fit properly in patients’ mouths.
Stress Management to Stop Headaches from Grinding Teeth
Because teeth grinding is behavioral problem, there’s no medication that helps preventing people to grind their teeth at night. Even people who clench and grind their teeth when they are asleep do not know their habit.
Stress management is important to get rid of roots of the bruxism. It has been identified that the root of bruxism is stress, anxiety, and exhaustion. By reducing the stress patients may get rid of any teeth grinding for good.
Stress Management with Relaxation Techniques
Do exercise and start moving. Exercise is not only aimed to reduce stress, but also to give good feeling. Simple walking, jogging, swimming, and taking bicycle is good. Trying new sports is also a better option to level up dopamine level.
Stress Management with Massage Therapy
Go to your physician and ask them to give you subliminal massage. The subliminal massage works directly to subconscious mind, so that patients might experience a great sensation of relaxation.
Take Natural Supplements
Take supplements that contain good natural ingredients with relaxing effects such as fish oil that is proven effectively reducing cortisol hormone. Magnesium before bed is also recommended. Magnesium is able to help relax the muscles.