A Beginner's Guide to Night Guards for Teeth Grinding
Do you often experience morning headaches or sore jaw in the morning? Chances are you grind your teeth or clench your jaw in your sleep. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding happens unconsciously when awake or asleep. It’s most associated with deep emotions such as stress, tension, anger, and depression.
While it might not look dangerous, regular or chronic bruxism can cause your teeth’ enamel to wear down significantly, putting you at a greater risk of tooth sensitivity, gum recession, tooth decay, and cavities. Similarly, teeth grinding can strain your jaw muscles and joints, resulting in jaw pain. Severe bruxism can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder.
That said, seeing your dentist for treatment is essential if you suspect you grind or clench your teeth during sleep. Since teeth grinding happens unconsciously, many people may not know they have the condition. The dentist often finds out a patient has bruxism during routine dental checkups.
Nightguard for Bruxism or TMJ disorders
Most dentists recommend a night guard for teeth grinding and jaw clenching. It can also help provide relief from TMJ disorders. A nightguard is a dental device worn over the top or bottom teeth (commonly worn on the upper jaw). Nightguards work like retainers or sports guards. A night guard is sometimes called a mouthguard, bite plate, bite splint, or occlusal guard.
The guard acts like a protective barrier, preventing the upper and lower teeth from crashing against each other. It helps reduce the harmful effects of bruxism, like tooth damage, tooth pain, and jaw pain. Signs that you have bruxism and might need a nightguard include:
- Audible teeth grinding or clenching (often reported by another person)
- Chipped, loosened, fractured, or flattened teeth
- Increased tooth pain or sensitivity
- Full morning headaches
- Frequent sleep disruption
- Jaw, neck, or facial pain or soreness
- Tired or tight jaw muscles
- Difficulty opening your mouth wide
- Pain that feels like earn pain
- Injuries on the inner cheeks
See our dentist near you if you have these or other symptoms. The longer you wait without treatment, the worse the effects will be. Seeking treatment can help correct the underlying cause and protect your teeth and mouth from damage and discomfort.
Benefits of Using a Nightguard
Night guards reduce or prevent the many problems caused by teeth grinding or clenching. It helps:
- It prevents teeth damage like chips and enamel erosion.
- It eliminates jaw, teeth, neck, ear, and head pain.
- It prevents soft tissue injuries.
- It prevents serious and bigger issues like tooth decay, gum recession, and TMJ disorders.
- It promotes better quality sleep.
Please note that a nightguard does not cure bruxism. It only reduces the effects of teeth grinding and clenching. Once you stop wearing the nightguard, you will still have bruxism. You can work with your dentist to establish the cause of your condition and determine a practical approach to eliminate your bruxism.
Types of Nightguards
Nightguards are available in three main categories, including:
Dental professionals make custom nightguards using impressions or scans of your teeth and mouth. Therefore, they fit perfectly around your teeth, offering maximum comfort and protection. They are also made of quality materials and, therefore, very durable.
As the name suggests, these mouthguards must be softened in hot and then bitten down to provide a custom fit for your teeth. Different from custom nightguards, bite-and-boil guards offer less customization and comfort and tend to be bulky.
These nightguards are generic and come in various sizes. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to find a perfect fit. Ill-fitting guards can cause discomfort and even worsen your bruxism.
If you grind or clench your teeth regularly, finding a quality nightguard that fits correctly and still offers maximum protection is better. While stock and boil-and-bite night guards may be cheaper and readily available, it’s best to invest in a custom night guard from our dentist.
Are you interested in Night Guards in York Harbor, ME?
For more information about bruxism and custom night guards for teeth, contact and book a dentist appointment at York Dental Group.