It can be beneficial to use a guard, or covering, to protect your teeth from grinding while sleeping. Similar to how a mouthguard protects teeth during sports, this layer prevents damage to the teeth that can occur naturally.
There are a wide variety of different types of mouthguards, ranging from pre-formed pieces to ones that are custom fitted to your teeth and jaws. Some of these can even be formed at home through a boil-and-bite process.
Night guards, sometimes known as orthotics, are oral appliances made from medical silicone or plastic that are custom-fabricated to fit over the teeth. They are often used to prevent nighttime teeth grinding and clenching, as well as to properly position the jaw to relax hyperactive muscles and decrease TMD symptoms. While most dental night guards are primarily made to protect the teeth from becoming damaged as a result of bruxism, our office uses a neuromuscular approach to fabricate your custom night guard. Using a neuromuscular approach means that we look into the relationship between the teeth, muscles, and jaw joint position. We then use this information to fabricate a night guard that will hold your jaw in the most relaxed position in order to promote healing and a reduction of TMD symptoms.
Did You Know?
Traditionally, dentistry focuses only on the teeth. This is why most night guards are designed solely to protect the teeth from damage. Neuromuscular dentistry, however, focuses on three factors: the teeth, muscles, and jaw position. This approach reduces primary pain in the jaw, as well as secondary pain in the neck, head, and shoulders.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do I need a night guard?
While only a dentist can diagnose your need for a night guard, you may benefit from wearing a night guard if you experience any of the following on a regular basis:
- Jaw pain
- Problems biting and chewing
- Pain while biting and chewing
- Tooth pain
- Facial pain
- Inability to open or close the mouth completely
- Popping or clicking noises when the mouth opens/closes
- Ear pain/tinnitus
- Teeth grinding or clenching at night
To determine if you can benefit from wearing a nightguard, schedule a consultation with our office today.
What should I expect when wearing a night guard?
The information obtained from the diagnostic technology will be used to determine the most relaxed position for your jaw. Your night guard will then be fabricated in order to maintain this position while you sleep. Upon receiving your night guard, your dentist will discuss exactly how to wear and care for it. In most cases, you can expect to wear your night guard every night. You can also expect to attend follow up appointments so your dentist can assess your progress and make adjustments to your treatment plan as necessary.