Night Mouth Guards: FSA Eligibility
Athletic mouth guards are not eligible.
Eligible expenses for Limited FSAs can vary. To find out exactly what your Limited FSA covers, contact your FSA administrator.
What are night mouth guards?
Mouth guards are plastic or rubber inserts kept inside the mouth during sleep to protect the teeth from the forces of teeth grinding, which can be very harmful to the teeth over time. Teeth grinding occurs for a variety of reasons and is commonly attributed to sleep apnea. Mouth guards will not prevent teeth grinding or address the root cause, but mouth guards will prevent one of the symptoms of teeth grinding, which is the damage it can cause to the teeth. Mouth guards are recommended, generally, as one part of a treatment plan to address teeth grinding.
What is teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding, also referred to as bruxism, is the involuntary grinding or clenching of one's jaw during the daytime hours, or in the midst of the sleep cycle (sleep bruxism). In most cases, bruxism is a minor issue that may not require treatment, but in more advanced cases, bruxism can lead to extensive jaw damage/disorders, recurring headaches, tooth damage and other side effects. Physicians are still unsettled as to a direct cause for teeth grinding, but possible physical and physiological causes may include sleep apnea, anxiety/stress, a side effect to some antidepressants, stomach acid reflux and more. In most cases, medical professionals will develop a treatment plan based on an individual's symptoms to curb this behavior (WebMD).
What are mouth guards?
In most cases, treatment for bruxism is only necessary if the problem is extremely severe, and contingent on whether the behavior occurs during the day or night. In the vast majority of night bruxism cases, guards for teeth grinding are an effective means of protecting the teeth and jaw by providing a soft layer to cushion and absorb night grinding, but small enough to fit comfortably during sleep. In some cases, corrective dental surgery may be necessary.
What are alternatives to mouth guards for teeth grinding?
In addition to guards for teeth grinding, other potential treatments for bruxism include therapies like stress management, behavioral modification therapy and biofeedback (retraining muscle activity). Last but not least, some medications have been found to be effective in limiting teeth grinding, such as muscle relaxants and Botox injections. Ultimately, most treatments for teeth grinding involve close coordination with one's doctor and trial and error to pinpoint the underlying source of the issue to develop an effective treatment plan (Everyday Health).