What is a Nightguard and Why Might You Need One?

What is a Nightguard and Why Might You Need One?

Nov 02, 2020

What is Clenching/Grinding? 

Both clenching and grinding are prevalent subconscious functions that are associated with sleep motion disorder. They usually occur at night while asleep. Clenching is the motion of biting down very hard, and grinding is the action of biting down very hard and rubbing the teeth back and forth. Both of these conditions can cause damage to the teeth as well as problems with the mouth and jaw. 

Symptoms of Clenching/ Grinding

  • Headaches 
  • Sore jaw joint and tenderness while opening and closing the jaw 
  • Sore muscles of the face and neck 
  • Sore or sensitive teeth 
  • Worn down biting surfaces of the teeth that may lead to chips and fractures 
  • Gum recession 
  • Shortened tooth height which can lead to thinning of the smile and appearance of the jaw 

What is a Night Guard

A night guard is a type of mouthguard used to wear at night to protect the teeth and jaw from the forces of clenching and grinding. There are several different types of night guards made from several various forms of plastic, and they can either go on the top teeth or the bottom, depending on the type. The nightguard takes the jaw’s forces away from the teeth and acts as a cushion, dispersing the pressure throughout the guard. 

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How Are Night Guards Made? 

A night guard is made by first taking an impression of your teeth (top and bottom) to get a replica of your teeth and mouth. The impressions will be sent to a lab to create the night guard based on your impressions to fit precisely to your teeth. You will return to see your dentist about a week later, and the night guard will be tried in. If necessary, it will be adjusted to make sure it fits just right. 

Important Points 

  • Nightguards can be difficult to get used to. Habits are formed in 21 days, so give it a good effort. Eventually, you’ll get used to it and feel like something is missing when you don’t wear it! 
  • Make sure to keep it clean, use a separate toothbrush and some warm (not hot) water to clean it, store it in a mouth guard container. 
  • If you start to notice chipping or cracks on the night guard, bring it to your dentist as this may indicate it’s time for a new guard. 

If you believe you may be clenching or grinding at night or have any questions about night guards, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.