Who Needs to Wear a Night Guard?

Who Needs to Wear a Night Guard?

November 1, 2020
There is a lot that goes on within your body while you are sleep. In the mouth, some people may find themselves involuntarily clenching or grinding their teeth, a condition referred to as bruxism. The American Sleep Association estimates that 10% of the adult and 15% of children population is affected by the condition. It interferes with the quality of sleep one gets and also negatively impacts their oral health. Those affected experience symptoms such as tiredness in the morning, chronic headaches, jaw pain and tenderness, neck or facial pain and interference with sleep. patients may also develop problems with their teeth such as chipping and increased sensitivity.

What is A Night Guard and What Does it Do?

A night guard is a thin and clear device that looks like teeth whitening trays and is worn over the biting surface of the teeth. Once on, it prevents contact between the upper and lower teeth. The barrier lightens the pressure from grinding and clenching and cushions the jaw muscles to prevent facial and jaw pain. The cushioning also protects the enamel. Grinding and clenching of teeth exerts extra pressure on the teeth, causing them to flatten. If left to persist, the protective layer of the enamel wears off and the teeth become thin. The gums may also start to recede, causing increased temperature sensitivity. Night guards for bruxism are available at a dentist near you or can be bought over the counter without a prescription. They are fitted in different ways and the best type for you will depend on your needs. This is why it is important for you to first book an appointment with your dentist in Spring, TX, before starting to use any type of night guard.

Over-the-Counter Night Guards

These come in many variations and may work fine for occasional grinders. They are also the most affordable option but this comes at the sacrifice of some important features such as comfort and great fit. There is a type that comes in stock sizes that comes ready to wear. Another type is the boil and bite night guards that require you to first soften it in hot water, before putting it over your teeth and molding it with the help of your tongue, lips and fingers. It is worth noting that despite the claims of customization, these guards may not be able to address your needs. Another issue with store bought guards is that they are made from a rubber-based material that is quite thick and actually encourages you to clench your teeth, which makes it completely counterproductive for managing bruxism.

Custom Made Night Guards

Dentists at Spring Creek Forest Dental often recommend custom guards as they are more effective at protecting your teeth when compared to over the counter options. Although costly, in some situation it is the only worthwhile option. Heavy teeth grinders, people with extensive dental work and those that suffer from chronic migraines, headaches and TMJ pain are some of the best candidates for custom guards. Custom night guards are professionally crafted and fitted by your dentist. They therefore take into account your needs and the special features of your mouth to ensure they are both comfortable and effective. They are also very durable and the process of getting them is simple and painless. Your dentist at Spring will take an impression of your teeth and then use it to create a mold. The mold will be set to a lab where it will be fabricated. Once ready, the dentist will fit to ensure it is okay, before you leave. Another type of guards you may come across is the nociceptive trigeminal inhibition splint (NTI). This is a small type of mouthguards designed to only cover the front top and bottom teeth. It prevents the front teeth from touching, thus alleviating pressure from the jaw and restricting the rest of the teeth from grinding against each other. However, the problem with this guard is that overtime, it may cause your teeth to misalign as only the front teeth are taking the force of your jaw clenching.
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