Dental night guards and bite guards are specifically designed to help reduce the damage caused by grinding your teeth. Also known as Bruxism, teeth grinding is a problem that afflicts many people. Although some people will knowingly grind their teeth during the day, the problem also impacts many people while they sleep.
At Monarch Family Dental of Westminster, we know the detrimental impact teeth grinding can have on a person’s oral health. Aside from causing irreparable damage to the teeth’s enamel, it can cause pain in the jaw, wear down your teeth, and lead to irritated gums. For those with partners, teeth grinding can also impact the quality of your spouse’s sleep. Regardless of whether you are aware of your Bruxism or not, we can provide you with solutions to reduce the potential damage caused by your teeth grinding in the form of mouth and bite guards.
What are dental night guards used for?
We provide night guards to help patients experiencing a range of issues:
- For problems that result from teeth grinding at night
- For the treatment of TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder)
- Jaw or mouth problems arising from bite misalignment
If you knowingly grind your teeth, a night guard can help by providing a barrier between your upper and lower teeth while you sleep. Each dental night guard is custom-made to ensure maximum comfort levels for patients. They are durable, and once created, can last for anywhere up to ten years.
If your child is grinding their teeth, mention this to Dr. Rojas during their next visit
If you are trying to prevent teeth grinding at night, there are a number of measures you can put into practice at home.
- If your jaw is naturally tense, clenching is almost second nature. There are ways you can train your jaw to become freer and easier.
- You can avoid drinking caffeinated drinks and alcohol up to four hours before going to bed. Both of these beverages will boost the likelihood you will grind your teeth during your sleep.
- Chewing objects, specifically gum or perhaps a pen during the day, all help teach your jaw to clench and become tense; stopping these habits can also help you prevent night-time teeth grinding.
How can you tell if you’re clenching your teeth at night?
There are many common symptoms of Bruxism, some of these include:
- A similar pain to earache
- A dull headache that starts at the temple
- Damage to the inside of your cheek
- Clenching or grinding that your spouse can hear during the night
- Fractured, loose, or chipped teeth from no obvious accident or incident
- Worn down tooth enamel
- Pain in the jaw or neck
- A tight or locked jaw that will not fully open or close
- Disrupted sleep patterns
People with Bruxism may experience one or all of these symptoms. If you have any of the above-listed problems or suspect you might be grinding your teeth at night, please contact Dr. Rojas.
Knowing if a dental night guard is right for you
If you’re looking to find out if a dental night guard is going to be right for you, then it’s always good practice to discuss any concerns directly with your Dr. Rojas. Aside from their prior experience dealing directly with Bruxism and patients who grind their teeth, they can also examine your mouth, your bite, and your teeth, seeing first-hand if any damage is being caused by the grinding of your teeth.
Although there are many situations where people who clench their teeth can resolve this problem by using behavior modification techniques during the daytime, this might not work when a person is doing this subconsciously while they sleep. Dental night guards can help.
Bruxism by night is very different from Bruxism by day. Due to the fact a person is not aware of what they are doing at night, this can result in excessively large amounts of force being placed on the jaw, and this is what can cause a person to wake up feeling pain in their jaw, tiredness, and even jaw dysfunction.
The Benefits of Dental Night Guards
There are many situations where dental night guards are a great solution for Bruxism. However, they are not right for everybody in all circumstances. Some of the greatest advantages include:
- It can help prevent headaches and pain in the jaw by reducing stress on the jaw
- It can help to protect a patient’s teeth from sustaining any further damage
- It can help to support a better night’s sleep for you and potentially your spouse
Although it can take a little while to get used to wearing a dental night guard, this is usually resolved over the first few weeks.
The benefits of night guards are numerous, and if Dr. Rojas evaluates your teeth and deems this a suitable option, it can help you feel relief from many of the unpleasant side-effects that Bruxism can cause.
Hard vs. Soft Night Guards
There are two core types of customized dental guards you can get; these are known as either hard or soft mouthguards. While both are tailor-made to fit your mouth, the two are quite different.
Hard night guards
This type of nightguard is typically made from a non-pliable hard acrylic. It will not feel fully flexible when placed into the mouth, and it is typically recommended for those with the most severe levels of clenching and grinding. Some of the advantages of choosing a hard guard include:
- Highly durable
- Suited for moderate to severe levels of Bruxism
Hard guards are usually better than soft guards when it comes to offering protection for your teeth, but they do cost more money.
Soft night guards
This type of nightguard is typically made from a pliable soft material. It is flexible, and it is typically recommended for those who clench but do not grind their teeth (aka mild Bruxism). Some of the advantages of choosing a soft guard over a hard guard include:
- They are more comfortable due to their flexibility
- They are less bulky and less obtrusive
- They cost less
Soft guards have a shorter life expectancy than hard guards, but they are not usually suitable for anyone with a moderate to high level of Bruxism. Ideally, they’re to be used for people who clench their teeth instead of with those who regularly grind their teeth.
Dr. Rojas will help you choose which type of night guard could be best for your individual situation. Regardless of whether you choose a hard or soft guard, the additional protection will help improve your oral health and your teeth, along with helping to relieve some of the pain you have been experiencing in your jaw, ears, and head.
If you’re ready to find out more, please contact us to book an initial consultation with a member of our team today.