Night guards are commonly recommended to protect your teeth from nighttime clenching and grinding. While they look similar to mouthguards that are used for sports, they are specifically made for nighttime wear. Typically, a night guard is slightly thinner than athletic guards and custom fitted to your teeth to ensure comfort when wearing them while you sleep. If you suspect that you grind your teeth, ask us about our custom night guard options.
Why should I wear a night guard?
Teeth grinding and clenching places strong forces on your teeth Depending on the severity of the ground, significant tooth damage and wear can result. Over time, the enamel of your teeth can wear away from grinding and small cracks from clenching can place you at greater risk for more serious dental issues. Additionally, grinding and clenching your teeth can put a lot of stress on your temporomandibular joint or TMJ. Increased stress on your TMJ can cause inflammation and pain.
How can I tell if I’m grinding my teeth at night?
Since grinding happens while you sleep, you may be completely unaware of the problem. Often, the issue comes to light when someone else hears you grinding your teeth or you start to see the side effects such as wearing of the enamel. If you grind your teeth at night, you may wake up with a sore jaw or teeth, have increased tooth sensitivity, or get frequent headaches.
When should I talk to my dentist about a night guard?
Ideally, you should bring up any concerns you have about teeth grinding to your dentist before serious and permanent damage occurs. Your dentist can determine if a night guard is best for you and begin the process of making the appliance. While you can buy night guards over the counter, these are often ineffective and uncomfortable because they do not have a custom fit to your mouth. At our office, we can make you a custom night guard to ensure your comfort and protection against teeth grinding.
If you suspect that you are grinding your teeth at night, contact us right away. By handling the problem early on, together we can prevent long-term oral health issues.