How can I protect my temporary crown from my night time tooth grinding without my nightguard?
September 12, 2011 12:53 PM   Subscribe

For night-time tooth grinders who have also had a temporary dental crown: do you have any tips on keeping my temporary crown intact while I can't wear my night guard?

I had a filled molar that eventually cracked and needed a crown put on. Last week, the dentist took an impression and sent it to the lab; the permanent crown should come in early next week. In the meantime, I've got a temporary crown on the molar.

I grind my teeth quite heavily at night, so I always have to wear a night guard when I sleep. The dentist was worried I would grind the temporary crown and break it (this is how I ended up cracking my molar in the first place), so she said it was OK to wear the night guard. It fits tightly on my bottom teeth. You can probably see where this is going: after a few nights of clipping the night guard onto the temporary crown, this morning the crown came off (and broke) when I took out my night guard. I was able to see the dentist on short notice and she made a new temp crown. However, she is now recommending that I don't wear the night guard until the permanent one comes in.

So! Dilemma: I can't wear the night guard in case it pulls off the temporary crown again. However, I am such a heavy grinder that I might break the crown anyway by grinding. What the hell do I do for the next few nights? My dentist didn't have any advice for me on this front so I am not too optimistic, but on the off chance that anyone has been in this situation before, is there anything at all that worked for you?

(I realize that the optimal solution is that I find a way to relax enough at night that I no longer grind my teeth. I am working on this--and have been working on it for some time--but it's unlikely to happen soon enough to help me right now, doubly so since I am now stressed about breaking my temp crown.)
posted by hurdy gurdy girl to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Go to a Sporting Goods store and get one of those mouth guards that you boil and then form to your teeth. They cost somewhere around $7-12. Wal-Mart might even have them.

You can cut away the part where your temporary crown is and just use it on the side and front of your mouth. I'll keep your teeth separated while you sleep. It won't be pretty but it'll work for the time being.
posted by TooFewShoes at 12:59 PM on September 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I feel like your dentist should have been more help here....the only thing I can come up with is that you could take muscle relaxants (e.g. cyclobenzaprine) for a few nights if it is in fact only going to be a few days until you get the permanent fix. Ask your dentist for a prescription. They may you groggy though (for me, it lasts into the next day sometimes) and it may not work...
posted by Tandem Affinity at 1:00 PM on September 12, 2011

Agree on the sports guard. They are cheap, fit on the top teeth, customizable with a strong scissors, and they do the job. I use these instead of more expensive guards (I am a moderate tooth grinder, evidently), and discard after 6 months or so.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:04 PM on September 12, 2011

2nding TooFewShoes. There's a more recent (last decade or so?) night guard design that deliberately only covers the front teeth -- look up "nti-tss" or "partial night guard" -- the idea being that when your front teeth are unable to meet, your jaw muscles are unable to fully engage. You can make a temporary version of such a guard by cutting down one one of the "boil and form".
posted by kanuck at 1:07 PM on September 12, 2011

Response by poster: You know, I hesitated before posting this question because it seemed kind of hopeless, but I am so glad I asked! Thanks for the great suggestions. I would never have thought of getting one of those guards and cutting away the part over the crown--what a good idea. I think I might try taking an OTC muscle relaxant too just to cover all bases.

I feel less stressed just reading these responses and realizing it'll probably be just fine for the next few nights. Thank you!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:43 PM on September 12, 2011

Also, maybe see if the drugstore has Plackers temporary night guards, which don't even reach as far back as the molars. I find them very comfortable, and very helpful if I've forgotten to pack my night guard for a weekend trip. I'm not a heavy grinder, but I imagine they'd hold up for you at least overnight.
posted by EvaDestruction at 2:09 PM on September 12, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the link to the Plackers--I've never heard of them before and they look worth a try too. Even if I don't end up using them for this, they'd be great to have on hand in my toiletries bag in case I ever forget my night guard.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:57 PM on September 12, 2011

the dental aisle of any major drugstore will have night guards. you can fit the moldable ones to either your top or bottom teeth (despite what the instruactions say) so just fit it to the side opposite the temporary crown. for a few days it won't matter.
posted by thinkingwoman at 5:00 PM on September 12, 2011

Response by poster: Update: I ended up buying a non-bulky dental guard from the drugstore, the kind you boil and mould to your upper teeth. As per TooFewShoes' suggestion, I cut away the part that would have rested on my crown before fitting it. It worked like a charm to keep my teeth apart last night and my temp crown is still intact. I'll probably forego the muscle relaxants since this seems to be enough. Thanks everyone!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:43 PM on September 13, 2011 [1 favorite]

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