A nightguard is a mouthguard that covers the teeth and gums designed to reduce injury to the teeth, tongue, and jaw while you sleep.
Who Should Wear A Night Guard?
Most people wear night guards to protect against bruxism – unconscious teeth grinding. Regular clenching of teeth can lead to a host of oral health issues, including tooth damage and temporomandibular (TMJ) discomfort. It can also cause headaches, disrupt your sleep, and lead to pain in the face, jaw, and neck.
Some patients are at higher risk of bruxism than others. For instance, bruxism is much more common in young children than in older folks. It is also more frequent in people who are naturally hyperactive, aggressive, and competitive. Frustration, anger, and stress can lead to similar problems, as well as caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and psychiatric medications.
Do Night Guards Relieve Jaw Pain?
Night guards can reduce or eliminate jaw pain caused by bruxism. The shape and position of the guard stop teeth from transmitting the full force of the jaw muscle into the TMJ area, providing an affordable, non-invasive treatment option. Many people who wear night guards experience a reduction in headaches, pain, and jaw tension, and are considerably less likely to damage their teeth.
Why You Should Get A Night Guard For Jaw Clenching
Failing to deal with jaw clenching can lead to a range of serious tooth and jaw problems requiring costly treatment. For example, bruxism is a leading cause of root canals and tooth erosion. If the condition goes untreated, you could lose around two millimeters of enamel per decade, increasing the risk of cavities, regardless of how well you clean your teeth.
Furthermore, jaw clenching puts tremendous force on your teeth and the surrounding facial structure. Many people with bruxism experience daily pain, making it challenging to focus on other areas of life.
How Are Night Guards Made?
Night guards are made in a similar way to mouth guards. First, dentists take an impression of your teeth and then make a negative copy of it that will form the mold for the night guard.
After that comes fabrication. Most guards are made of dual laminate or hard acrylic. Laboratories shape the material around the mold so that it will fit over teeth perfectly when placed in the mouth.
Once fabricated, dentists fit the mouthguard and then make minor adjustments, if necessary. Once fitted, they provide care instructions and information on when to wear them.
Nightguards should offer a snug fit. They should not rock in the mouth or cause any pain or discomfort.
How Long Does It Take To Get A Night Guard?
Getting a night guard typically takes two to three weeks. There is a delay between taking a mold of your teeth and the delivery of the fabricated unit because dentists must tailor the guard to the shape of your mouth.
How much you pay for a night guard depends on the specifications and material you use. Night guards are considerably more affordable than veneers, root canals, crowns, and other dental procedures.