The last twelve-plus months have been stressful enough, don’t let that stress get to your teeth.
A night guard is a removable dental appliance that is usually designed to cover all the teeth in one of the jaws. They are made from a hard, clear, or tooth-colored material that helps to protect your teeth. Here are three of the reasons why your dentist might recommend a night guard.
Bruxism is a medical term for excessive, unconscious clenching of the jaw or grinding of the teeth. It can occur at night, during the day, or both. In fact, only about 1/3 of people that clench or grind are even aware of it. Bruxism can be due to a variety of reasons including increased stress, poor sleep quality, and medications.1
The consequences of bruxism occur in all parts of the chewing system (teeth, gums, bone, muscles, and joints) and may include:
- Loose teeth
- Fractures of teeth, fillings, or crowns.
- Pain to the muscles and joints help you open and close your mouth
It can be difficult to stop someone from clenching or grinding their teeth since bruxism is usually unconscious. However, a nightguard can offer a layer of protection against its harmful effects while also being much more cost-effective. A well-designed custom night guard can cost several hundred dollars, but a fractured tooth that needs a root canal and crown may cost several thousand.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD)
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD) are problems with the jaw joint and can include pain on opening or closing, noises in your joint like popping or clicking, and functional limitations like being stuck open, closed, or having limited opening or closing.
The causes of TMD are varied and may include a history of trauma (car accident, sports injury), medical problems like Fibromyalgia, chronic pain, or Rheumatoid Arthritis, or can be a problem of the joints, muscles, and teeth not working in harmony.2
The consequences of TMD can include irreversible damage to the bone or cartilage in the joint, an inability to get the teeth to fit together, and routine pain on opening or closing that hinders day-to-day function.
Frequently, a night guard can help with TMD by allowing the teeth, muscles, and joints to all come together at the same time in a comfortable and repeatable position. This helps to support the joint rather than overload it and can offer comfort to true joint problems.
History of Dental Implants
Dental implants are artificial tooth root replacements that form a direct connection to the bone in the jaw. This direct connection helps preserve the bone while also allowing dental implants to function similar to natural teeth.
While dental implants function similar to natural teeth, they are not the same. Excess stress from clenching and grinding can overload dental implants. Overloading dental implants can cause chipping or damage to the restorations, loosening of the screw that connects the restoration to the implant, or, in extreme cases damage to the dental implant itself.
A nightguard can protect a dental implant in two ways:
1. Prevent overloading from clenching or grinding by balancing the forces across all the teeth
2. Act like a retainer to minimize the risk of shifting of the teeth next to the dental implant.3
Nightguards in Humble, Texas
We have the latest technology at Humble Dentistry including a digital intra-oral scanner which makes getting models of your teeth less stressful, more comfortable, and more accurate than traditional impressions. In addition, our in-office SprintRay Pro dental 3D printer allows us to quickly and accurately fabricate a variety of dental appliances including nightguards.
Do you think a nightguard is right for you? Schedule a comprehensive evaluation with us at Humble Dentistry where we can discuss how a nightguard can benefit you.
- Wichniak A, Wierzbicka A, Walęcka M, Jernajczyk W. Effects of Antidepressants on Sleep. Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2017;19(9):63. Published 2017 Aug 9. doi:10.1007/s11920-017-0816-4
- Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/temporomandibular-disorder-tmd.
- Greenstein G, Carpentieri J, Cavallaro J. Open contacts adjacent to dental implant restorations: Etiology, incidence, consequences, and correction. J Am Dent Assoc. 2016 Jan;147(1):28-34. doi: 10.1016/j.adaj.2015.06.011. Epub 2015 Nov 6. PMID: 26562738.