These appliances are used for a variety of reasons. A major therapeutic use is to alleviate bruxism. Many people call this “TMJ,” although that is a different diagnosis. Grinding your teeth or clenching your jaws is called bruxism, and often it happens as we sleep, caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite, or missing or crooked teeth.

Symptoms include a dull headache or a sore jaw. You could also have teeth that are painful or loose from severe grinding. This can lead to fractures in your teeth.

Dr. Hanselman can fit you with a bite splint to protect your teeth during sleep.

A mouthguard should also be used during any activity that could result in a blow to the face or mouth, such as sports. A properly fitted mouthguard can help prevent broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw. It will stay in place while you are wearing it, making it easy for you to talk and breath.

Ask about having a custom mouthguard made specifically for you or your family member. This will fit well and offer the best protection for your smile.