The Benefits of Wearing a Night Guard
Do you wake up every morning with a headache or sore jaw? Have you been told you grind your teeth while you sleep? Most people don’t know how bad their teeth can be affected by night time teeth grinding.
Wearing a night guard at night can remedy some of the more undesirable habits you may not even know you have while you sleep. Today, we will go over some of those benefits in detail.
What Is A Night Guard?
A night guard (also called a mouth guard) looks like a normal retainer, is made from plastic and can be hard or soft. Its purpose is to cover the biting surfaces on your teeth and can be worn on top or the bottom sets of your teeth.
Types of Night guards
Hard Night Guards
These are made from a hard acrylic and are used to treat TMJ, severe teeth grinding, and clenching. As the muscles relax, the bite changes due to the lower jaw positioning itself in a central, healthy position. These adjustments to the bite on the guard help your muscles and jaw relax. Since hard night guards are made from a firm material, they are the most durable type.
Over-the-Counter Night Guards
Pharmacies and drug stores sell over-the-counter night guards that are pre-molded to fit any mouth. You can also purchase boil-and-bite night guards, which you soften in hot water for a better fit before imprinting them with your dentition. Unfortunately, long-term use of such devices can cause your bite to change and shift as these have not been made specifically for the shape of your teeth.
Custom-Made Night Guards
Night guards can be custom made to fit your unique mouth and teeth shape. Your dentist will make an impression of your teeth and the custom mouth guard is then molded over the model using a special type of plastic. With the proper care and adjustments, these are durable enough to last for several years.
What Are The Advantages Of Wearing A Night Guard?
Night guards can help a few sleep-time behaviors that are hard on your mouth and/or teeth such as:
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, happens when you grind or clench your teeth and jaw. Grinding means to move your jaw back and forth, causing your teeth to scrape against each other in your mouth. Clenching is the act of biting down with force for long periods of time. Bruxism is very common and usually happens when you are asleep or during times of stress while you are awake. Many people aren’t even aware that they are grinding their teeth in their sleep until they are told by their partner or dentist.
Bruxism can cause extensive damage to the structure and enamel of the teeth over time, which can lead to increased sensitivity and tooth decay. It can also cause headaches, disrupt your sleep, and cause pain in the jaw, face, and neck. Tobacco use, caffeine and alcohol can increase your chances of bruxism.
2. TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome)
TMJ syndrome affects the muscles of your jaw or the temporomandibular joint that connects your jaw to your skull. Clenching or locking of the jaw can cause a great deal of pain and discomfort, and you may not know you’re doing it while you sleep. Symptoms of TMJ include:
- Jaw popping when you open it wide
- Pain and tenderness of the face, jaw, neck or even shoulders
- Jaw that locks in place
- Swelling of the face
- Painful to bite down
While a night guard is not the only treatment for TMJ pain, it is an affordable, convenient, and non-invasive option. A properly fitted night guard shifts the jaw and teeth into proper alignment, which can alleviate jaw tension, headaches, pain, and other symptoms of TMJ.
Night guards can help increase airflow while you sleep by creating a passage between your jaws, allowing you to breathe better during the night. Wearing the night guard can relieve tension on your jaw muscles and will allow for a more restful sleep overall.
Get a Custom-Made Night Guard for Better Sleep
Carrie Muzny DDS is here to take care of your oral health and get to the bottom of oral issues you may be having, ranging from clenching, to tooth pain, TMJ and much more. Our highly acclaimed dental team are not only exceptionally trained in modern preventative techniques, but also have attained academic honors and continue to refine their craft year after year in preventative dentistry, restorative dentistry, pain-free surgical procedures, and cosmetic dentistry.
With our state-of-the-art technology and vast range of smile-perfecting procedures, we stay atop the field and deliver smiles as sunny as the state of Texas!