Many people have a problem of teeth grinding which is also called “bruxism.” Usually bruxism occurs in the early part of the night and may disturb sleeping partners. Bruxism can be mild or severe, occasional or frequent. People suffering from this problem usually wake up with headache, earache or toothache. Bruxism not only causes discomfort, but it can damage dental restoration as well as healthy teeth. In the worst case, it can be a reason for the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that connects the lower jaw to the bone at the side of the head. A night guard can prevent from damaging your teeth and other dental disorders. Call our dentist in Santa Clarita to learn about your options for night guards at (661) 290-2825!
Check the Symptoms of Bruxism
Bruxism happens when the person grinds or clenches the teeth unconsciously. Some people grind their teeth during the day, but more often bruxism happens when the person is sleeping. That is why, it is difficult to self-diagnose bruxism. So, try to check the following symptoms when you wake up:
- Dull headache, migraine
- Sore jaw
- Tooth sensitivity to cold, heat or brushing
- Wounds on the inside of the cheeks
- Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis)
- Jaw pain
- Neck or shoulder pain
How Does a Night Guard Work?
A night guard, also known as a mouth guard or bite guard, is a kind of removable, custom-fitted plastic device that fits the upper and lower teeth in order to prevent them from grinding against each other. Night guards are usually worn at night, however, they can be worn during the day as well. They can be designed for the upper or lower teeth, depending on the patient’s problem. Night guards allow free motion and release the muscles’ tension. Night guard separate and protect teeth from grinding as well as equilibrate the bite.
Our night guards allow sleeping without felling any discomfort or having breathing problems. Night guards are available in different shapes, sizes and materials. We will help you determine which type is the best for you.
A night guard can make a great difference in the quality of your sleep and health. You shold wear a night guard in order to:
- Protect the teeth wearing down
If you grind your teeth when sleeping, you should consider wearing a night guard to avoid the risk of wearing down or cracking your teeth or causing receding gums.
- Improve breathing
Night guard opens the airway, improves breathing and reduces snoring during sleep.
- Eliminate or reduce jaw pain
A night guard reduces the jaw muscle contractions and lets your jaws relax. The space between teeth that the night guard creates minimizes tension in the jaw and provides relief from TMJ.
- Reduce popping and clicking
The popping and clicking in the TNJ’s can’t be elminated with the night guard, but it can be reduced so that you don’t notice it.
- TMJ therapy
Using the night guard helps to keep the mouth open and unlock the locked jaw (trismus). A locked jaw refer to a reduced opening of the jaws caused by muscles’ spasm.
- Protect the teeth during sport activities
Night guards can be worn during the sport activities where the natural wish to clench or grind teeth can occur, such as tennis, cycling, golf, archery, etc.
- Reduce stress
Night guard is useful when you are involved in some stressful situations and notice yourself clenching or grinding the teeth. It could be needed when you are driving a car, have problems at work or any time when you feel stress or tension.
There Are Several Types of Night Guards:
- Full and Partial Coverage
Full coverage night guards cover the entire upper and lower row of teeth. They don’t modify the bite and protect teeth from grinding. This type of night guard is considered to be the most common, conservative and safe one. Partial coverage night guards cover only some teeth that cause the problem. This device reduces teeth grinding and clenching of the jaw, but may slightly modify your bite.
- Soft and Hard
The majority of night guards are made of a hard heat-cured acrylic material which helps prevent the teeth from altering the mouth guard. The hard night guard is more durable and is a perfect choice for people who suffer from extreme teeth grinding or clenching. Soft night guard is made of thick poly-vinyl material. The soft night guards can be more comfortable and are suitable for those patients who have a slight form of bruxism. In this case, a soft protection is enough to solve the problem and protect teeth structure. The soft night guard is also more suitable for people who suffer from teeth clenching rather than teeth grinding. The soft material reduces the clenching force.
- Repositioning Your Bite
Some night guards whether they are of partial or full coverage are designed to reposit you bite. This type of night guard is fitted to your teeth and then it is gradually altered in order to move your teeth in a specific way.
Night Guard Care
After each use we advice to rinse the night guard with cool water. It is also recommended to do more cleaning with a toothbrush and toothpaste once a week. Dry the night guard carefully before putting it in the container – this will prevent bacterial growth. The container for the night guard should also be cleaned with soap and hot water thoroughly at least once a week. Take your night guard to your regular dental procedures to be sure that it is working properly.
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