Nightguards

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Nightguards

When you are damaging your teeth by clenching or grinding, a nightguard may be recommended by Dr. Lanza. 

A night guard is a removable appliance that fits over your upper or lower teeth. It helps prevent damage to your teeth that can be caused by grinding and/or clenching, a destructive oral habit also known as bruxism.

While night guards don’t necessarily stop you from grinding or clenching, they do help protect the tooth surfaces from damage caused by those actions. Nightguards can also help alleviate the symptoms associated with bruxism including jaw pain, head and neck muscle pain, tooth wear and fracture, tooth sensitivity, and headaches.

Nightguards are similar in appearance to sports mouthguards but are typically less bulky and are made of smoother, thinner plastic. They can be custom-made by Dr. Lanza to fit your mouth exactly,

 

Do you need a nightguard? 

You may be wondering if you’re in need of a nightguard. While occasional teeth grinding or clenching should not be a major cause of concern, consistent, long-term bruxism can lead to pain, broken teeth, loss of tooth enamel, and in severe cases – loss of teeth themselves. For these individuals who experience moderate to severe bruxing, a nightguard could greatly benefit oral health. 

Bruxism is a fairly common problem. It is estimated that about 10% of adults and as many as 15% of children are affected. This grinding and clenching typically occurs at night, but may also be a daytime habit, and most people are unaware they have the problem. Unless your sleep partner complains about the noise, a dentist is usually the first to recognize the damage to your teeth and raise concern. 

Some symptoms that may indicate the need for a nightguard include: 

  • Teeth clenching and grinding
  • Jaw pain or stiffness
  • Fractured or worn-down teeth and dental restorations
  • Loose teeth
  • Temperature-sensitive teeth
  • Headaches, earaches, toothaches in the morning
  • Facial pain
  • Disrupted sleep
  • Sleep partner complains about the noise

 

Other things to know about night guards 

 Your night guard is intended to make your mouth feel more comfortable. If it doesn’t, then you may not have the right fit. Your night guard may need to be adjusted after placement, and, if it feels uncomfortable in any way or if you experience any pain, then it’s best to let the office know. We’ll be able to help. 

Most night guards are worn at night only, but those who grind or clench their teeth during the day may also benefit from daytime wear.  If esthetics are a concern, Dr. Lanza can make a custom guard for daytime use that is significantly less visible from the front – but may also be less durable than those worn at night. 

It is extremely important to clean your night guard before and after each wear as they are prone to colonization by bacteria or other microorganisms7. Insufficient care can lead to greater oral health problems or the spread of other diseases. 

 

Final thoughts

 

Nightguards won’t stop you from clenching or grinding, but they can be a very effective way to protect your teeth during the day or night if you suffer from those unconscious destructive oral habits. If you do decide to get a nightguard, the type you choose will depend on the severity of your individual condition, as well your comfort needs and financial limitations. 

If you have any questions about whether you need an occlusal guard, we recommend contacting the office for an evaluation. Dr. Lanza will be able to diagnose any bruxing damage and help guide you through treatment options. 

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