Thursday, January 14, 2010

Make your own night gaurd for TMJ or Bruxism for just pennies

I realize that this one doesn't sound as fun, or crafty as a home-made Snuggie like last month's project, but if you are someone who suffers from teeth or jaw pain, or even headaches associated with Bruxism or TMJ problems, then this will be exciting for you. First my own story, the one that led to my creation of the Nite-Bite (that's what I call it).

Off and on in my adult dental history, I have suffered from sore jaws and even headaches, which were diagnosed as TMJ problems. I have have my teeth ground down to improve my bite, I have had expensive retainers made to wear at night; both of which finally helped illiminate the pain. But after being pain free for about ten years I went to the dentist thinking I had a cavity because some of my teeth ached. He didn't find a cavity but pointed to the tissue around the roots of my teeth and commented that they looked peculiar, but said nothing more about it. My teeth then started aching more and more, mostly when I chewed. I could tell now that the pain wasn't caused by cavities and deduced for myself that my TMJ problems were probably coming back. I didn't want to go back to the specialist that had treated me ten years ago. We did not have insurance this time and I couldn't afford the $600 for another retainer (I had long since lost the other one because I hadn't worn it forever). So I got thinking, if I could just make something soft to cushion my teeth at night that might help. (I had awoken one night and found myself clenching my teeth. I never realized I did that before). Enought said, I created my Nite Bites and my teeth pain and occasional head ache has gone away. One night however, I was too tired to make one, so I didn't wear it, and sure enough the next day my teeth hurt while I was eating. It took a couple of days of wearing the Nite Bite for the pain to subside.

Use 2mm thick Foamy sheets purchased at any craft store.
I have included a pattern (below, print out as 8.5x11) that I have come up with over months of trial and error that works great for me. The only material you need is a 2mm thick white Foamy sheet. These can be purchased at most craft stores for around 80 cents.You can enlarge the pattern at the places indicated for larger mouths. (My mouth is realitivly small). Just make a pattern out of cardstock and trace around the pattern with a pencil (easily rinces off after cutting) and then cut each Nite Bite out with a pair of sissors. It's that easy. My suggestion is that you trace and cut an entire sheet at a time, maybe while wathching a movie at home, that way you will have a month's supply ready and you won't have to worry about cutting one out each night, and possibly being too tired.

To create the Nite Bite that fits you, make it so it barely touches the back of your mouth and lays across your molars, and in the front it is able to be tucked under your bottm lip, allowing your incissors (front teeth) to not have to bite down on the foamy.
It is very comfortable to wear at night, and allows you to still grab a drink of water in the middle of the night, or talk without having to remove it.

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