A mouth guard is a type of dental appliance that’s worn over the teeth to prevent clenching or grinding. A mouth guard is most commonly used at night, though it can be used at any time of day.
When a person clenches their jaw, it’s called bruxism. Clenching and grinding teeth together can cause a person to develop TMJ disorder, which is a painful condition that affects the joints of the jaw. A mouth guard can prevent teeth clenching and grinding, thus preventing TMJ disorder.
Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, is a habit that most often occurs at night. Although bruxism has many possible causes, it often occurs as a result of stress, anxiety, or tension. It is also a prominent symptom of sleep apnea. Whether you grind your teeth occasionally or regularly, you may begin to experience dental problems.
How do night guards work?
Typically, night guards are worn to help correct problems associated with grinding or clenching the teeth. This condition can lead to excessive wear on the tooth structure, headaches, and pain in the jaw.
The mouth guard is custom-made to fit your mouth and is worn at night while you sleep. Grinding and clenching puts excessive pressure on the teeth and can cause the jaw to move out of alignment. The night guard places a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth, so the jaw isn’t constantly under pressure.
Night guards versus mouth guards
Mouth guards are designed to protect the teeth from trauma and from clenching and grinding. Mouth guards can also be helpful in preventing TMJ-related pain. They help the jaw stay in alignment and keep the teeth from touching. Mouth guards are worn over the teeth, much like an athletic mouth guard.
Another option for protecting the teeth from trauma is a night guard. It is a type of mouthguard that has to be worn at night. It protects teeth wear that could be caused due to bruxism.
Night guard fitting process
During your appointment, we will take impressions of your teeth. These impressions will be sent to our dental lab, where your night guard will be made. Ideally, you should wear your night guard every night while you sleep. However, you may only wear your night guard at night.
It may take up to three weeks for your night guard to be crafted. Once your night guard is ready, we will call you in for another visit. At this visit, we will check the fit of your night guard and make any adjustments as needed.
Common benefits of night guards
Custom-made, properly fitting night guards provide many benefits to patients who wear them regularly. While most patients need night guards for tooth protection, many patients also find that the following benefits occur over time:
1. Night guards protect teeth and reduce the risk of further wear.
2. Patients enjoy improved sleep.
3. Increased comfort.
4. Fewer jaw muscle spasms.
5. Improved breathing.
To find out more about the dental services offered at Bergeron Dental, call (907)-456-5600 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit Dentist in Fairbanks, AK at 3112 Airport Way, Suite 2, Fairbanks, AK. Our office is located on the second floor of the Fairbanks Dental Center building.