Night Guards: What They Are and Who They Benefit

| December 11, 2017

Are you in the dark about night guards? We’re here to help! There are plenty of people who could benefit from a night guard and you may be one of them. Read on to learn what they are and why you might need one.

What are Night Guards?

A night guard is a plastic oral appliance that people place on top of their teeth before going to bed at night. It resembles a mouthguard you might use for sports, but is made to precisely fit your mouth.

You can think of the guard as a protective barrier between lower and upper teeth.

What are Night Guards Used For?

There are 3 primary problems that a night guard can treat: bruxism, sleep apnea, and loud snoring.

For instance, if snoring’s a problem in your household, a night guard might help. A night guard will adjust the position of the tongue and lower jaw, keeping the airway open during sleep. With the continuous airflow, snoring may cease.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding. Typically, it’s caused by an abnormal bite, missing teeth, or crooked teeth, although it can also be caused by stress and anxiety.

While bruxism may not seem like such a big deal, it can have devastating effects. Chronic teeth grinding can cause fractured or loose teeth and may even require teeth to be removed. As a result, people with bruxism may need bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, or dentures.

Additionally, bruxism can cause or worsen TMD/TMJ, and may even change the shape of an individual’s face.

How do I Know if I Grind My Teeth at Night?

Many people with bruxism learn from a partner that they’re grinding their teeth at night. Alternatively, people who grind their teeth may wake up frequently in the morning with a headache, jaw pain, or tooth pain.

If you suspect you grind your teeth at night, mention it at your next appointment. We can take a look at your teeth to see if they look worn from grinding.

How is Bruxism Treated?

Most commonly, patients will wear a night guard to protect their teeth during sleep. They may also be advised to have their teeth straightened, take steps to alleviate stress, and change their diet or medications. Caffeine and antidepressants, for example, can worsen teeth grinding.

If you experience teeth grinding, talk to us about our custom-fitted night guards. These comfortable, durable guards can help you get a good night’s sleep—without damaging your teeth.

Can I Buy a Night Guard Over the Counter?

While you can buy over-the-counter (OTC) guards, they simply aren’t as durable as professional night guards. As a result, you may need to replace an OTC guard every few months.

Additionally, OTC night guards tend to be less comfortable, because they don’t fit as well. For that reason, many people don’t wear them regularly like they should, meaning they’re not experiencing the benefits of a guard. At Grandview Dental, we’ll get impressions of your mouth to make your custom night guard, ensuring a perfect fit.

Do you grind your teeth? Contact us today to schedule an appointment to get your own custom-fitted night guard!