Have you experienced your jaw joint clicking, popping, or even locking up? What about waking up in the middle of the night after hearing your teeth grinding together? If any of these ailments are familiar to you, it’s possible a dental night guard could change your life for the better.
What Are Dental Night Guards?
Dental night guards are modified oral devices that are designed to help treat disorders that can destroy tooth structure and are worn while you sleep each night. A dental night guard looks, fits, and feels like a clear plastic retainer tray, except it is slightly thicker to absorb the nightly grinding and clenching forces.
There are two main conditions that can be improved with a night guard:
Bruxism (Teeth Grinding/Clenching)
Teeth grinding is a common issue from which many people suffer. While often attributed to stress, doctors still haven’t found a definitive cause. Teeth grinding can cause many issues, including:
- Chronic headaches or migraines
- Chipped, flattened, fractured, or loose teeth
- Ear pain and/or ringing in the ear
- Gum recession and tooth deformities
- Increased tooth sensitivity
- Tired or tight jaw muscles, jaw and/or facial pain, or jaw locking
- Worn tooth enamel, exposing deep layers of tooth
In some cases, patients don’t have any of these symptoms, but bruxism can be diagnosed based on silent cues that Dr. Sanyk can identify during your consultation.
This condition (aka Temporo-Mandibular Disorder) is not necessarily related to bruxism but it can cause similar problems. When people have a recognizable “clicking” or “popping” noise in their jaw joint when they open their mouth wide, it could lead to the following:
- Future arthritic symptoms and pain
- Inflammation of the jaw muscles, ligaments, and joint disc
- Jaw tightness and locking
A custom night guard, while very important to the long-term health of your teeth, is simple to fabricate. Accurate impressions are taken of both upper and lower arches, as well as a bite registration. This information is utilized by our lab to manufacture the truly customized night guard you need. When you receive your night guard at Smile Hilliard, Dr. Sanyk takes time to ensure the proper fit and bite for ultimate tooth protection.
Why Can’t I Wear a Generic Mouth Guard?
You may be wondering why it’s recommended to wear a dental night guard vs. an over-the-counter regular mouth guard—and that’s a fair question. Custom night guards are better for many reasons, the biggest being that the custom guard will fit your mouth perfectly. Wearing a guard that doesn’t fit your mouth perfectly could end up causing more harm than good. Plus, custom night guards provide a more comfortable fit – making it easier to sleep as well.