What is the purpose of a night guard?
A night guard (or occlusal guard) is needed for specific reasons, the main one being that clenching your jawbone results in your teeth grinding together as you sleep. This phenomenon is also called Sleep Bruxism. A night guard will protect the top and bottom rows of teeth, which will reduce clenching and grinding substantially.
The benefits of wearing a night guard
Prevents damage to teeth
Relieves jaw tension and pain
Reduces headaches / migraines
Establishes healthly sleep habits
Snoring is prevented
A great deal of sleep bruxism is reduced
It saves you money in future dental appointments
The cons of not using a night guard
As a result, your teeth will become misaligned
Increased risk of tooth sensitivity
Breaking or chipping of teeth
It is possible / likely that your teeth will become worn down over time
An increase in headaches
An increase in jaw and toothaches
A higher number of dental appointments
Night guards reduce discomfort and help create good sleep patterns for the consumers wearing them. You may think having a night guard is unimportant and tedious because you'll need to wear it every night and clean it every morning. However, the dangers of not wearing a night guard outweigh the inconvenience one may cause.
Remember that your nightguard will feel foreign and uncomfortable for the first few nights. It will take time to get used to, but once it does, you won't even realize it's there, especially when you start sleeping better.
What is the process for getting a night guard?
A night guard fitting is relatively straightforward. While you can buy over-the-counter night guards, getting one from a dentist is always recommended to ensure a perfect fit. An ill-fitting night guard can do more harm than good.
To start, make an appointment with your periodontist to discuss your grinding and clenching and to have them evaluate your teeth.
Once a consultation is completed, your periodontist will start by taking an impression of your mouth. The periodontist will use this impression to create a night guard that fits your teeth.
Once the night guard is ready, you will come in for a fitting to see if any in-chair adjustments need to be made. Once the perfect fit is determined, you are ready to take it home.
What makes a night guard a better option?
A person suffering from bruxism may be able to consciously stop grinding and clenching their teeth during the day, or at least reduce their intensity. However, once you are asleep, you will not be able to lessen the intensity of the constant grinding of your teeth.
It takes 120-260 PSI (pounds per square inch) to break down food when we chew. The same force is exerted when we grind our teeth, and when we are unaware of the habit, this wears our teeth down, causing them to become sensitive and damaged. By wearing a night guard, you can prevent jaw pain, muscle tightness, broken, chipped, and damaged teeth, and enamel wear.
Talk to your periodontist today about getting a night guard.
See Our Comprehensive Guide on Occlusal Guards
An Occlusal Guard is also known as a night guard or bite guard and helps prevent damage and bring relief to the symptoms of jaw pain.