Wet face, dry lips: Bite guards == sexy.
April 24, 2009 12:58 PM   Subscribe

Adjusting to sleeping with a bite guard. Tips?

My new dentist is awesome and figured out that I've been clenching my teeth in my sleep. I didn't realize I was doing that, but once he mentioned it, it became obvious to me that I was.

So I agreed to get fitted for a custom bite guard to wear at night.

Last night was my first night wearing the bite guard. It wasn't terribly uncomfortable, and I managed to fall asleep fairly quickly.

The guard is a custom-molded acrylic doodad that attaches to my bottom front teeth. It's a little over an inch wide, but the front of the guard sticks out enough that I ended up sleeping with my mouth open all night.

This morning, my lips were really, really dry. And last night, I woke up multiple times with drool running down my face.

I'll happily choose dry lips and a wet face over bone loss and morning headaches. I'd like to know if this get better over time or if there's anything I can do to reduce the dry lips & drooling, especially from folks who've gone through this process themselves.
posted by burntflowers to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
After a week, you'll feel weird sleeping without it. Try some Aquaphor or Chapstick or something before bed to avoid the cracked lips.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 1:00 PM on April 24, 2009

Is your guard soft or hard? I've had a bit more luck with a soft, rubbery guard my dentist made me after I was having trouble with a hard, plasticy guard (though not much, since I have learned to spit it out and toss it aside in my sleep.) The softer guard did not take up as much room in my mouth.
posted by slateyness at 1:19 PM on April 24, 2009

I've slept with a biteguard for 10 years now; mine's small and hard, and fits my top center 6 teeth, but I had the same adjustment issues. I do put on lip balm right after the light goes out.

Do you have a follow-up visit scheduled with your dentist to adjust the guard? Report the drooling and that you can't close your mouth with it in. It may need to be reshaped or trimmed to fit your soft tissues as well as it fits your teeth.

As Inspector.Gadget says, soon you'll find it hard to fall asleep without the guard. I notice that a couple of nights without it mean that it fits differently (what I think of as the Invisalign effect).
posted by catlet at 1:20 PM on April 24, 2009

Yes, they can trim it.

I have one that completely covers my bottom teeth, but is not nearly so large as to keep my mouth open. Ask your dentist if you can get a smaller one. I can't see why it would need to be so big.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 1:52 PM on April 24, 2009

You will stop over-salivating; your mouth will just get used to it. I had the same problem at first and it went away fairly quickly. Your mouth should be able to comfortably close, though. Ask your dentist to trim it down a touch.
posted by chowflap at 1:59 PM on April 24, 2009

Thanks for all the comments, folks.

I'll be contacting my dentist to see if he can reshape the guard so that I can easily close my mouth.

In the meantime, I'll be liberally applying a thick lip balm before bed.
posted by burntflowers at 3:18 PM on April 24, 2009

I also have a bite guard, and I use Bag Balm on my lips at night. Never have a problem with chapped lips. Smells like hell but keeps your lips nice and soft. I found some at CVS; I'm sure it's lots of other places too.
posted by olinerd at 3:50 PM on April 24, 2009

Not sure where the poster is living, but Bag Balm can be found at the TSC stores in Canada. I've used it in other places, ( cyclist) but never on my lips before.
posted by Taurid at 6:55 PM on April 24, 2009

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I had a big chunky night guard and I never got used to it. I used to take it out in my sleep! I "lost" it in Hurricane Katrina. My new dentist made me a smaller, more flexible one that I can even wear out if necessary. Much better.
posted by radioamy at 8:21 AM on April 25, 2009

A little update after my second night with the bite guard: I applied a thick layer of lip gloss before bed last night and this morning my lips weren't nearly so dry. I also don't recall waking up with drool running down my face, so it looks like that's improving already.

I haven't had any trouble with losing the guard at night. It clicks onto my bottom teeth and it's not uncomfortable....just weird feeling, but not so much that I don't get used to it quickly.
posted by burntflowers at 9:04 AM on April 25, 2009

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