Dental Articles - Ajax

Do You Need A Night Guard?

Do You Need A Night Guard?

Do You Need A Night Guard?

A night guard is a protective type of guard that is worn overnight while sleeping to protect your teeth, gums and bone from the effects of clenching and grinding.

What are teeth clenching and grinding?

Both teeth clenching and teeth grinding are classified as “functional habits” that occur subconsciously, typically in times of stress. Teeth clenching entails the force of both jaws biting hard against each other, while teeth grinding is this same force with movement between the jaws in a back-and-forth motion.

Teeth grinding is more typical in children, while clenching is more typical in adults. The dental term for clenching and grinding at night is “sleep bruxism.” Upwards 30% of the population have some form of sleep bruxism.

Signs and symptoms of teeth clenching and grinding.

  • Headache/ neck ache.
  • Sore jaw.
  • Tightness while opening and closing the jaw.
  • Tooth pain.
  • Sensitive teeth.
  • Gum recession tooth wear, such as flattened biting surfaces.
  • Notches at the gum line of teeth.

Be sure to contact your dentist if you notice these signs or symptoms.

How can a night guard help your clenching or grinding?

Depending on the type of night guard, it can either stop you from teeth clenching or grinding your teeth entirely or act as a cushion between teeth while clenching and grinding. There are various kinds of night guards, and it is essential to talk with your dentist about which kind will work best for you.

Some are cushy plastic trays that cover the top teeth, much like a sports guard, some have balls and clasps, and some have front teeth bite pads to prevent the back teeth from touching. Typically, night guards aren’t recommended for children because they will grow out of them too quickly and may also grow out of tooth grinding as they age.

How is a night guard made?

You will have two quick and easy dental visits to receive a night guard. During the first visit, dental impressions will be taken of your top and bottom teeth. The dental impressions will be sent to a lab where a guard will be made specifically for your teeth. About a week later, when the night guard is ready, you will return to the office to have it tried in, adjust if necessary, and review care instructions.

Caring for your night guard

Be sure to wear your night guard every night and clean it each morning before storing it. You can use a separate toothbrush with warm water to brush it. If properly cared for, a night guard can last you several years. Be sure to contact your dentist if you notice any chips or cracks in the guard.

If you have any questions about night guards, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Dentist Ajax