What You Should Know About Night Guards
Whether you’re experiencing teeth grinding or clenching, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), or other related conditions, a night guard could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Let’s dive deeper into understanding night guards and why they are recommended by dental professionals.
What is a Night Guard?
A night guard, also known as an occlusal guard or bite splint, is a custom-made oral appliance worn during sleep to protect the teeth and jaws. It is typically made of durable plastic and covers the upper or lower teeth, creating a protective barrier between the upper and lower jaws.
Who Needs a Night Guard?
Night guards are recommended for various dental conditions and situations. Here are some common indications for wearing a night guard:
- Bruxism (Teeth Grinding and Clenching): Many individuals unconsciously grind or clench their teeth during sleep, known as bruxism. This can lead to enamel wear, tooth sensitivity, jaw pain, and even cracked or fractured teeth. A night guard acts as a cushion, absorbing the forces exerted during grinding or clenching and protecting the teeth from damage.
- TMJ Disorders: Temporomandibular joint disorders affect the jaw joint and surrounding muscles, causing pain, headaches, jaw clicking, and limited movement. Night guards help alleviate these symptoms by promoting proper jaw alignment, reducing muscle tension, and providing a barrier that prevents excessive strain on the joint.
- Sports and Physical Activities: Athletes participating in contact sports or activities with a risk of facial injury should consider wearing a custom-fitted mouthguard, a type of night guard specifically designed for protection during sports.
How Do Night Guards Enhance Dental Health?
- Prevents Tooth Damage: By creating a physical barrier between the upper and lower teeth, night guards protect against the wear and tear caused by grinding or clenching, reducing the risk of chipped, cracked, or fractured teeth.
- Alleviates Jaw Pain and Headaches: Night guards can help alleviate the symptoms associated with bruxism and TMJ disorders. By promoting proper jaw alignment, they reduce muscle tension and alleviate jaw pain, headaches, and facial discomfort.
- Enhances Sleep Quality: Teeth grinding and clenching can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to poor sleep quality and daytime fatigue. Night guards provide relief, allowing for more restful sleep by minimizing the impact of bruxism on your overall well-being.
- Protects Dental Restorations: If you have dental restorations like crowns, bridges, or veneers, night guards provide an additional layer of defense against damage from clenching or grinding. They can significantly extend the lifespan of your dental work.
Incorporating a night guard into your dental care routine can be a game-changer, providing protection, relief, and improved oral health. Whether you’re dealing with bruxism, TMJ disorders, or participating in contact sports, a custom-fitted night guard is an investment worth considering. Contact our team if you are interested in learning more about night guards and seeing if they are a good fit for you.