Do you grind your teeth in your sleep? Do you suffer from jaw pain or frequent headaches because of clenching your teeth? If so, the solution to these problems may be a custom night guard. Wearing a night guard for teeth grinding and jaw clenching may help prevent your teeth from the excessive wear that can occur from these “habits.”
What Is A Night Guard?
A mouthguard can provide relief from the pain associated with temporomandibular joint disorder, and are typically used in sports, and can be purchased at a drugstore. A night guard, on the other hand, are custom made appliances, generally in U shape, plastic devices that fit over your teeth to wear while you are sleeping to prevent grinding and clenching. These can come in a variety of colors and are made for you and you only. This tray-like device will help your teeth from coming into contact while you sleep.
Why Do You Need One?
It is extremely common for people to clench or grind their teeth, especially while they are sleeping. Over time, these behaviors can lead to flat, worn, and unattractive smile. In many situations, it can also lead to a variety of other symptoms that affect your teeth, muscles, and temporomandibular joint. Your teeth may become sensitive to hot and cot and they may become loose and possibly even break off. The pressure of the grinding is created from the chewing muscles in your jaw, so they can become extremely sore, which is what may be causing you to experience jaw pain and headaches when you wake up in the morning.
Sometimes, the pressure is so extreme that it can cause the muscles to tighten up, which makes it difficult for you to chew, eat, or even speak. This can lead to muscle tenderness, which may lead to neck pains and headaches. When the grinding has begun to affect the temporomandibular joint, you may experience symptoms such as clicking or popping when opening and closing your mouth. A night guard doesn’t actually prevent you from grinding and clenching your teeth, but it does provide a cushion for your teeth to protect them from wear.
Benefits of a Custom Night Guard
There are several benefits that come with wearing a night guard. The primary purpose is to decrease the force and pressure of clenching and grinding your teeth. It’s important to note that although there are mouth guards available over the counter. However, in order for the mouthguard to be fully effective, it requires an orthodontist to take a mold of your teeth to create a custom fitting guard. Unfortunately, many of the over-the-counter mouthguards may only slightly protect your teeth from grinding, and they generally don’t help to decrease the force on the muscles and joints.
A custom made night guard will be fitted to your teeth, which helps guide the bite position and movement of your lower jaw, which helps to significantly decrease the amount of force being generated. This can ultimately reduce headaches, relaxes jaw muscles, and provides more protection for your teeth. Along with relaxing jaw muscles and protecting teeth from wear, a custom night guard will also help to ensure that your jaw is properly aligned, and provides less of a risk of it falling out or shifting around while you sleep.
Preventing Teeth Clenching During the Day
Clenching of the teeth (bruxism) may be associated with a wide range of causes, such as intense emotions like anger and stress. If you experience teeth clenching both at night and during the day, along with wearing a night guard, there are a few things you can do during the daytime to help lessen the clenching and grinding. For instance, using relaxation techniques when you are stressed, angry, or before bedtime may help to reduce the clenching. You should also consider limiting consumption of alcohol and caffeine, as they can also play a role in teeth grinding and clenching.
Is a Night Guard Uncomfortable?
Keep in mind that it’ll take a little time to get used to wearing a night guard. The length of time that you may need to wear it depends on how advanced your symptoms are. Regardless of how uncomfortable it may seem at first, it’s important to wear the night guard every night. Your orthodontist may even suggest you wear it during the day as well.
Over time, after wearing the night guard, you may notice a shift in your teeth, this is common. If your teeth shifted significantly from clenching and grinding before you started wearing the night guard, your orthodontist may recommend an orthodontic plan to help fix your bite. Either way, it’s important to keep your natural teeth as strong and healthy as possible. Contact the experts at Reddick Orthodontics today to see how a custom night guard or orthodontic plan may be right for your smile.