Do I Need a Nightguard?

August 14, 2019

Do I Need a Nightguard?

A custom appliance can help protect your teeth from damage.

If you are grinding or clenching your teeth at night – a condition known as bruxism – know that you are not alone! Many adults and even children unconsciously do this while sleeping, and the cause can be anything from stress to sleep disorders to certain kinds of medication. Along with a sore jaw or headaches, bruxism can have a serious impact on your oral health, from wearing of your tooth enamel to damage to your temporomandibular joints – the extreme pressure can even lead to cracking or breaking of your teeth! Learn more about the causes, symptoms, and effects of bruxism here

If you are grinding your teeth at night, how do you prevent damage to your teeth and jaw? In many cases, your dentist will recommend a nightguard. Here are answers to some of the common questions we hear about nightguards and bruxism:

What is a nightguard and what is a nightguard used for?
A nightguard, sometimes called a bruxism appliance, is a thin, transparent appliance that fits over your teeth and is meant to be worn while sleeping. Because the nightguard prevents your top and bottom teeth from touching, it “guards” your teeth from damage when you clench or grind your teeth during the night. 

Do nightguards really work?
The short answer is yes! A properly fitted nightguard will prevent damage to your tooth enamel from bruxism, because it puts that physical barrier between your teeth. It also provides some extra cushioning that can help to lessen the jaw pain that can also occur with bruxism. 

Is it safe to wear a nightguard at night?
As long as your nightguard is properly fitted for you, it is safe to wear at night. The best thing to do is to have a custom nightguard made, as a stock, off-the-shelf nightguard can be hard to keep in place and will make sleeping uncomfortable and difficult. 

In our clinic, we use state-of-the-art digital technology to scan your mouth, then create a totally custom appliance right onsite in our own lab. The custom nightguard fits your mouth perfectly, so that you can sleep comfortably and safely.

Are nightguards the same as snoring appliances?
Along with nightguards to protect your teeth from damage due to bruxism, we also make custom snoring appliances, which are slightly different in design and purpose. A custom snoring appliance moves your lower jaw slightly forward, which pulls your tongue forward and creates more space for the passage of air.

Longterm solutions for bruxism.
A nightguard can be very helpful for protecting your teeth and jaw from damage due to bruxism, but of course, depending on the cause of your bruxism, you still ultimately want to stop grinding and clenching your teeth at night! It’s always a good idea to speak to not only your dentist, but also your doctor and other health care professionals about how you can address the causes of your bruxism. 

If you suspect you might be grinding your teeth or are otherwise concerned about your oral health, our friendly and experienced dentists are just a phone call (or text, email, or online form) away!