What issues can a night guard protect your teeth from? Occlusal Guards are removable devices that fit over the teeth and are used to help prevent the wearing down of teeth during sleep due to night time grinding and clenching. Sometimes these guards are also worn during the day if the patient’s problems are more serious than just the average teeth grinding problems.
A night guard prevents your upper and lower teeth from coming into contact, lessening the effects of grinding and clenching. … Night guards also help you by preventing costly tooth damage. The habit of grinding and clenching can cause chipped teeth, damaged fillings, and excessive wear.
One key thing to remember is that over-the-counter night guards can do more harm than good, exacerbating the problem because the fit is not right. That’s why a custom night guard is ideal. It will not only safeguard your comfort, but the quality of your smile, too.
What health issues does a night guard prevent?
- Chronic headaches:Sometimes also known as tension headaches, chronic headaches can be caused by teeth clenching or grinding. If you frequently wake up with a headache, consider bruxism as a possible cause. People clench or grind their teeth at night, and the pressure on the jaw can cause headaches.
- TMJ: Have you heard of temperomandibular joint disorder? It affects the muscles used to chew, and the joints connecting your jaw and skull. While the disorder can be caused by many things, one cause is bruxism, as the pressure from clenching or grinding can affect the mouth and jaw structures, including muscles, nerves, ligaments and teeth.
- Teeth wear: Likely you’re not going to notice that your teeth are wearing down, but your dentist can tell. When you come in for regular cleaning and maintenance, the hygienist and dentist inspect your teeth. When the protective enamel wears down, the tooth underneath is exposed and more prone to cavities, discoloration, fracturing, failing restorations and other problems.
- Tooth pain: If you experience tooth pain, and it’s not from cavities, there’s a good chance it’s from bruxism. Bruxism can cause tooth sensitivity, often related to enamel damage, or a fracture you can’t see.
- Tooth or crown cracking: The clenching and grinding can cause enough pressure on the teeth to crack or fracture (break) the actual tooth or crown. While the teeth are designed for the pressures of eating and biting, they’re not meant to sustain additional pressure from long-term clenching or grinding. This action can harm teeth, causing fractures or cracking.
While night guards are available over the counter, the ones made in dental offices are higher quality, custom fit and usually more comfortable and durable and more effective in alleviating the symptoms of bruxism. They are made after taking an impression of your teeth, and sending that mold to a special laboratory, resulting in a custom appliance.
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