A night guard looks similar to the trays used for teeth whitening, and covers the teeth to protect them from grinding and/or clenching, also known as Bruxism. The device may also be referred to as an occlusal guard. A night guard protects and cushions the teeth from excessive wear and helps re-establish the natural space between the upper and lower teeth.
Wearing a nightguard has many benefits. The tension in your jaw caused by bruxism causes more problems than you may be aware of, and taking the right steps to relieve the tension can solve issues that you were unaware were connected to your mouth. By preventing clenching and grinding, you are preventing the harmful side effects that are caused by clenching and grinding.
- Prevents tooth damage
- Reduces jaw pain and tension
- Prevents headaches
- Enables healthy sleeping patterns
- Reduces snoring
- Saves you money
Grinding can cause teeth to lose enamel, resulting in over-sensitive teeth. The pressure from teeth grinding can also cause damage to existing dental restorations, and even chipping or breaking. Wearing a nightguard can protect your teeth from these problems.
The jaw joint that experiences tension during clenching is called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). When your TMJ is out of alignment, it is referred to as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD). Wearing a nightguard helps to reduce jaw tension and pain caused by TMD. Because the guard is custom fit to your mouth specifically, it fits comfortably and reduces the stress that your jaw joints and muscles undergo while you sleep.
If you’ve been waking up with a headache, this may be due to clenching your jaw and/or grinding your teeth while you sleep. Clenching and grinding can cause headaches, toothaches, muscle fatigue, jaw aches, earaches and even neck aches. Wearing a custom-fitted nightguard helps to prevent these issues.
By helping to relieve the discomfort caused by clenching and grinding, nightguards also promote healthy sleeping patterns. Your nightguard will align the jaw into a stress-free position, allowing your muscles to relax. In return, you will achieve a better night’s rest.
When your jaw is clenched, it can create breathing problems which can cause snoring. Wearing a nightguard prevents your upper and lower jaws from touching. Keeping your jaws separate increases your air flow, which improves your breathing and decreases snoring.
Prevention is key! The damage done by clenching and grinding can be costly, even more so over time as your teeth become more severely damaged. Catching signs of clenching and grinding early on can greatly reduce your future dental expenses.
What is the difference between a nightguard I can buy online and one made by my dentist?
Many people instantly reject the idea of going to bed each night with a foreign object in their mouth. This feeling is amplified by using a poorly fitted over the counter mouthguard that is bulky and uncomfortable. It takes some time not only getting used to wearing a nightguard, but finding one that fits well. While there are hundreds of over the counter mouthguard options, none compare to a nightguard that is custom-made by a trusted dentist and a reputable dental lab.
How long will my nightguard last?
The lifetime of your nightguard depends on the materials it is made of and the strength of your jaw. For more serious teeth clenchers, the lifetime of the guard will be reduced due to wear. During your consultation, your dentist will determine which nightguard material is best for you.
Is a nightguard going to cure my bruxism?
No, wearing a nightguard does not cure bruxism. Guards are there to protect your teeth until you and your dentist can find and eliminate the reason for your teeth grinding.
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