Teeth grinding or clenching, also known as bruxism, is a common problem that affects millions of people every night. This habit is usually exacerbated by anxiety, stress, or an abnormal bite but is a normal occurrence for many people. If you’re facing problems associated with bruxism, it’s time to take action and start wearing a night guard. Dental night guards are a great solution to protect your teeth from the forces of grinding and clenching. As dentists, we want to explain how these dental night guards work and their potential benefits to you.
What is a Dental Night Guard?
A dental night guard is an oral appliance, which is designed to cover your teeth and prevent the consequences of bruxism including teeth wear, fractured teeth, sore facial muscles (myofacial pain), and jaw joint instability (popping or clicking joints). Professionally made night guards are custom-made and fit exactly to your teeth and bite, making them comfortable and easy to wear. Dental night guards help to reduce the pressure of misaligned teeth and minimize wear and tear of the tooth enamel that can lead to pain and sensitivity.
Advantages of using a Dental Night Guard
Dental night guards are essential for individuals who experience TMJ disorders, teeth grinding, and clenching. Some of the advantages of using a night guard are:
Protecting teeth from damage
Night guards protect teeth by providing a cushioning effect that absorbs and distributes the forces of grinding or clenching, creating a proper bite alignment and distributing forces evenly across the teeth. They also act as a barrier, preventing direct contact between upper and lower teeth and reducing friction to prevent enamel erosion.
Preventing tooth sensitivity
Tooth sensitivity often occurs when the tooth enamel is worn down or when the dentin layer, which contains tiny tubules that lead to the tooth’s nerves, becomes exposed. By wearing a night guard, the impact of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw on your enamel or dentin gets taken by the night guard helps prevent your teeth from becoming more sensitive.
Reducing headaches and jaw pain
Night guards can reduce headaches and jaw pain caused due to bruxism by relieving muscle tension, and promoting a more comfortable resting position for the jaw. Clenching your jaw is a common cause of tension headaches, so guards can potentially get rid of your tension headaches.
Improves quality of sleep
Night guards allow many people to fall asleep faster and enjoy uninterrupted sleep all night long because of how it can relax your mouth and jaw. They can indirectly improve sleep by reducing discomfort associated with bruxism.
How do Dental Night Guards work?
To reiterate how dental night guards are beneficial, the dental night guard works by cushioning your teeth and absorbing the forces of grinding or clenching. Without a dental night guard, these forces can cause teeth to wear down, chip, or crack. The guard, when worn, provides a barrier between your teeth and protects them from further damage. Custom-fitted night guards also help to relax your jaw muscles while you are sleeping, reducing strain and tension.
A dental night guard is an excellent investment to protect your teeth from the damaging forces of grinding and clenching while improving your sleep quality. Consider a night guard if you have TMJ or grind your teeth at night. You can also prolong the lifespan of crowns, bridges or veneers with night guards. If you feel that dental night guards could be beneficial to you or a loved one, talk with a Post Family Dental about your options. We can help you determine which type of dental night guard is best for you during a teeth checkup after evaluating your dental needs. Remember, taking care of your dental health needs to be a priority. Don’t wait to take action; schedule an appointment with us today.