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Mouth Guard Controversy

There is some controversy about the usefulness of mouth guards, which stems from the untruthful claims of some guard manufacturers that their product can cure bruxism. The job of guards is to protect teeth and provide relief from the jaw clenching UNTIL YOU FIND THE REASON FOR YOUR TEETH GRINDING. Guards are not meant to be worn for a very long time, as it is very important to eliminate the cause of teeth grinding. In many cases, a good dentist can find out if there is a problem with jaw or teeth alignment and fix the problem. In many cases, where the stress causes the teeth grinding, the causes of stress disappear and you stop grinding your teeth without any intervention. But, regardless of how long you used to grind your teeth, your mouth guard provided you with the protection you needed.

Mouth guards can get chewed out – Some opponents of mouth guards claim that the guards can get chewed out and pieces swallowed because of the strong pressure from the teeth. Poor quality, cheap guards are, of course, more prone to wear. Mouth guards have to be made of high quality material which can withstand significant pressure from the teeth and jaws.

Open bite issue – Open bite issue is another issue related to mouth guards that is circulating the web due to the lack of information. On the one hand, many people still believe that the mouth guard is here to cure their teeth grinding. On the other hand, many people are using poorly fitted one-fit-all guards available off the counter. According to Dr. Corine Scalzitti, she has never seen an open bite caused by a night guard. It is much more likely that the open bite existed before using the guard, and it might even be the cause of teeth grinding. A person with an open bite should see an orthodontist to correct the problem.

It is possible that a prolonged use of poorly fitted mouth guard is causing changes in the alignment of jaws. Mouth guards are meant to be used as guards, until the cause of the teeth grinding has been discovered and fixed, and it should not be used for ever. Properly fitted, custom made mouth guards will not cause open bite.

Christopher

Christopher has been writing professionally for 17 years. He specializes in health and dentistry. He has written extensively on bruxism, mouth guards and alternative approaches.

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7 Comments
  1. Reply
    Susan August 25, 2014 at 2:01 am

    I had a slight open bite, but my tooth surfaces touched top to bottom. In 2006, I broke a tooth, the result of bruxism. My dentist diagnosed me with TMD and made a mouth guard for me. The mouth guard protected my teeth, but increased my pain. My dentist tried a different more silicone-like guard. I still had facial pain, spasms, neck and shoulder pain on down. My migraine attacks worsened to two to three a week. (I have not been headache free since 2006.) I decided to see a TMJ specialist in 2007 or 2008. He made another mouth guard for me that was lighter in structure with a peg-like piece (NTI-TSS device) added to keep my top and bottom jaw apart because I was clenching more. My slight open bite became a severe open bite. When I saw an orthodontist, he determined I had one biting surface. When I would smile, it looked like I opened my mouth to laugh or something. I started lisping and had problems chewing as well. It was a mess. I’ve been in braces for 5 years. I cannot handle the pain of wearing the necessary rubber bands, so it’s been a long process. My teeth touch, I can talk and eat again properly, and I am so glad I got treatment. I just thought I should say something because there are no absolutes in this world. I really believe that last device, not the two before, made that slight problem a massive one. And, yes, the TMJ specialist is a dentist. It would not surprise me at this point though if I’m a rare case.

  2. Reply
    john October 4, 2014 at 8:12 pm

    Bullshit. I had an overbite when i was a kid then I had and over bite when I got my braces off. For the last 3-4 years now that I’ve been wearing a mouth guard overnight, My bite opened up and now I have this ridiculous open bite. To say that mouth guards dont open/change bites is a false claim. Its not natural for people to wear motuh guards, even though in many cases is a necessity. Anything stuck inbetween you teeth for a longt period of time will change the bite.

  3. Reply
    Nickie February 19, 2015 at 4:04 am

    I’m 38 and receive my first night guard around 22. I’ve worn through a couple and my dentist made me a smaller NTI devise covering the bottom 4 teeth with a little peg. I started wearing a little hole in my top 2 teeth with the peg, so she made another devise to cover my top 6 teeth, which I wore the back out so I started to use the 2 devises in conjunction which worked well for my grinding.

    It took around a year before I realized I could no longer bite through a hamburger. I had moved and had a new dentist to which I mentioned my bite shifting and opening, she suggested it may be my current grinding solution, so I stopped using it went back to the regular full top teeth retainer and 1 year later my bite has normalized. I can no longer touch my front teeth together, but I can bite a sandwich.

    P.S. I am an aggressive grinder/clencher, this may not happen to everyone.

  4. Reply
    Chris October 10, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    Uh no.. I NEVER had an open bite until after using this for a year or 2 CAUSED it and my bite does not meet at all…. These are well known to cause this ( I did not know before hand) and the doc saying “An open bite existed before” is an idiot. So now how to fix this?

  5. Reply
    Craig October 31, 2015 at 2:27 am

    I had a mouth guard made for me about 7 to 8 years ago and am now on my third one only because o broke and the other was lost. At the time of having one made an ortho diagnosed me as having an overbite and another one even diagnosed me with an overjet. During the past four to five months the ability to have my teeth line up naturally, when biting, has disappeared and I now have pain in the joints of my jaws when doing whatever possible to try and make my molars meet up. Something is really wrong and on top of that the plastics used in specially-made and/or OTC guards might just be from China, which puts out plastics that include toxins.

  6. Reply
    Ania November 9, 2016 at 3:26 am

    I started using a NTI and after a month or so my teeth had no contact in the morning and got back to have contact in the evening. when I wanted to bite a piece of sandwich with a lettuce, the lettuce would not be chopped of. Then my dentist changed it to a fitted nightguard for lower teeth. After 2,5 years of using my open bite is 2 mm wide and my front teeth got crowded and pushed more to the front. My dentist says she never heard of nightguard causing it, but from my perspective I would swear it’s the cause. Now, should I grind and have my teeth slowly get distroyed or should I have my not so pretty nor functional bite?

  7. Reply
    Janet December 23, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    I have been wearing a night guard for over 20 years. My teeth started out straight and my bite was perfect. Now, my front tooth sticks out, and I only have one tooth on the top and one on the bottom that touch when I bite. Seeing an orthodontist in the new year.

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