How a Night Guard Can Combat Teeth Clenching and Grinding

Night GuardNight guards are an oral health solution meant to alleviate the pressure placed on the teeth and gums when a patient clenches and/or grinds his or her teeth. Plenty of people wake up with a sore jaw, tooth pain or a slight headache and wonder what, exactly, is the cause of the discomfort. If you are in such a position, speak with a qualified dental professional and you might find you are suffering from teeth grinding, also referred to as bruxism. The American Dental Association reports bruxism impacts upwards of 15 percent of adults.

Night guards are essential to combating the negative effects of bruxism.

The Basics of Night Guards

A night guard is an appliance worn during the night when sleeping. Night guards are available at most pharmacies without the need for a prescription. In order to use night guards, all one has to do is boil it, let it cool for a few seconds and lightly bite into it so it can replicate the shape of the teeth.

Night guards are also provided by dentists. The variety you can obtain at the dentist's office tends to be of higher quality and usually provides a better fit. This is due to the fact that the night guards made to be distributed at dentists' offices are created in a special lab from the impression taken from the patient's mouth. Though the mouth guard obtained from the dentist tends to be more expensive than the over-the-counter variety, it is almost always more comfortable to wear.

How a Night Guard can Help

If you have any suspicion that you grind your teeth while you sleep, a night guard is worth a try. Also referred to as occlusal guards and occlusal splints, this oral health device is meant to prevent the surface of the teeth from grinding against one another. The prevention of such grinding reduces or even eliminates the chances of chipping/cracking the teeth and straining the jaw muscles.

The night guard is placed on top of the teeth to serve as a protective layer between the upper and lower teeth. It is usually comprised of plastic and placed over the upper teeth. However, those who wear braces or have an additional dental appliance will find the dentist can make a guard for the lower teeth. The night guard will re-establish the natural space between teeth while simultaneously protecting the teeth against grinding and clenching.

The Cushion Your Teeth Need to Remain Healthy

There is a common misconception that night guards completely stop a patient from clenching or grinding the teeth. However, the truth is night guards function as a cushion of sorts. The moving teeth will gradually wear away at the night guard rather than the actual teeth. This is what you need to keep your teeth in tip-top shape and give your jaw a much-needed rest as you sleep.

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