How Does a Night Guard Prevent Clenching and Grinding?

How Does a Night Guard Prevent Clenching and Grinding?

Feb 22, 2023

You may grind and clench your teeth if you experience regular morning headaches or wake up with a sore throat and jaw. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding and jaw clenching can happen unconsciously during the day or night. It’s more common when someone is stressed or at night when sleeping, however.

While very common, teeth grinding can be painful and damage the teeth and jaw, leading to serious problems like tooth fractures, enamel erosion, and jawbone disorders like TMJ. In this article, let’s learn more about bruxism and how a night guard can help.

Causes and Symptoms of Teeth Grinding?

While the exact cause of teeth grinding and clenching can be hard to establish, it’s commonly linked to factors like stress and anxiety, sleep apnea and snoring, and taking certain medications like antidepressants.

Unfortunately, most people who experience teeth grinding may not know it because it happens mostly while they are asleep. Symptoms that you have bruxism include:

  • Morning headaches
  • Awakening with a sore jaw
  • Toothaches and tooth sensitivity
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder
  • Worn tooth enamel or flattened teeth
  • Chipped, broken, and fractured teeth
  • Sleepiness during the day
  • Loose teeth

What is a Night Guard?

A night guard can also be called a mouth guard, dental guard, or bite plate. A night guard works like a sports guard. They create a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth, preventing them from touching or grinding against each other.

Even if you still move your jaw or teeth, the damage to your teeth significantly reduces. It also helps reduce teeth and jaw pain, improving your comfort and allowing you to sleep better.

A night guard can also help treat or reduce obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This condition happens when there’s a partial or complete obstruction in the airway, stopping breathing briefly. The brain then signals the patient to wake and open the airway for normal breathing. It happens within seconds, and you might not even realize it.

A night guard is used to align the jaw properly, preventing the muscles at the back of the throat from collapsing during sleep and closing the airway.

Types of Night Guards

There are several types of night guards: stock mouthguards, boil-and-bite mouthguards, and custom mouthguards.

  • Stock mouthguards come pre-made in small, medium, and large sizes. Since everyone’s jaw is different, it can be challenging to find a perfect fit. Similarly, stock guards tend to be bulky, low-quality, and uncomfortable.
  • Bite-and-boil mouthguards also come pre-made in small, medium, and large sizes. As the name suggests, boil-and-bite guards must be boiled and bitten to provide a custom fit. Still, they are not the most comfortable since they are bulky and typically made from low-quality materials.
  • Custom mouthguards are made in your dentist’s office using impressions of your mouth. Since the guard is customized for your mouth, the fit is much more comfortable and snugger than a stock or bite-and-boil mouthguard.

A custom mouth guard is also made from high-quality material and thus lasts longer than stock and boil-and-bite guards. While custom guards may be more expensive than generic guards, they offer maximum protection and comfort.

Benefits of Wearing a Night Guard

Wearing a night guard for teeth can provide several benefits, including:

  • Protects teeth damage and loss

Regularly grinding your teeth wears down the enamel, making them more vulnerable to fractures and infections. A night guard creates a protective barrier against the top and button teeth, preventing the teeth from grinding against each other. It prevents the teeth from wearing down, chipping, and other damages.

  • Prevents discomforts

Grinding your teeth throughout the night can result in mild to severe tooth, jaw, and head pain. Wearing a night guard prevents teeth grinding, preventing the associated discomforts or strain to the head, jaw, and teeth.

  • Improved sleep

Grinding teeth overnight can be uncomfortable and affect the quality of your sleep. A mouth guard prevents bruxism and eliminates discomfort, promoting a more comfortable and quality sleep.

Are you interested in a custom night guard in Marshfield, MA? Do you need more information about teeth grinding and night guards? Contact Marshfield Dental Group to book your appointment today.

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