Why do most people wear a night guard?
The exact reason you need one will be determined during your dental exam. Typically, they are worn to:
- Prevent damage. If you have paid to repair your teeth or have had cosmetic work done to improve your appearance, teeth grinding could reverse all that the work. Even if your teeth have never needed repair, grinding can cause your teeth to chip, crack, or simply wear down. This translates into direct discomfort as the teeth flatten, and your dentin or nerves could become exposed. This can lead to feelings of sensitivity when you eat or drink. If this type of damage continues, you could end up with gum recession and even loose teeth. If you use a night guard, your upper and lower teeth will be unable to grind against each other and the potential damage will be avoided.
- Ease discomfort.
Nighttime teeth grinding can cause severe headaches and tooth pain in the morning. If you are regularly waking up in pain or feeling uncomfortable, this can be a sign that you need to wear a guard while sleeping. At Mitchellville Family Dentistry, we have found that many of our patients feel significantly better after wearing their guard for just a few days. The key is to continue wearing it every night. While some grinding is caused by stress or tension, there is no way to tell exactly what causes people to grind their teeth or to stop the body from attempting it. This is why continued use of the guard is necessary.
- Treating TMJ.
Severe grinding or jaw clenching can lead to TMJ disorder. This can be incredibly uncomfortable, typically starting out as a sore jaw in the morning with the occasional headache. If you experience these symptoms or have face pain, neck pain, or your jaw hurts while eating, call 301-202-3499 to schedule an appointment with our Glenn Dale office right away. It is critical that you treat TMJ early by wearing a night guard and preventing your teeth from clenching or grinding in your sleep. Otherwise, TMJ can become severe. At this stage, some people find it difficult to even open their mouth, let alone eat or speak normally.
Are they comfortable to wear?
Yes, we have a dental lab create custom nightguards that match your measurements and exact specifications. The material we use is durable, yet comfortable enough to wear at night, without interrupting your sleep.
Can night guards help with sleep apnea?
There are oral appliances that are used to treat sleep apnea. This is different from a standard night guard. However, we can provide you with more information when you visit our dentist office.
How long will my night guard last?
If you take good care of your night guard, there is no reason that it should stop working. That is, if you buy one made of strong material. The type of guard that you can buy in the store is not designed to last forever and will typically give up after six months to a year. A dentist-made night guard can last for years, sometimes even decades. At Mitchellville Family Dentistry, we also recommend that you store it in a safe place. We will give you a hard case, and that is the ideal place to keep it. Most patients put their night guards in a case and keep it in their nightstand drawer. Out of the way, it is unlikely to get lost or taken by a child or pet. If you travel a lot, you may want to have two created so you can keep one at home and one in your carry-on bag.
What should I do to take care of my night guard?
Another way to keep your guard in good shape is to brush it regularly. Cleaning it is relatively easy. All you need to do is brush it with a soft toothbrush, toothpaste, and lukewarm water. This should remove the plaque that has built up on it. Additionally, you can try a special dental solution and soak it once per week. Be sure to dry it afterwards to prevent any bacteria buildup.