Teeth grinding or bruxism occurs during both day and night. Most people grind their teeth while sleeping, and their partners may complain about hearing loud grinding sounds throughout the night. A night guard can guard your teeth from grinding and keep them safe.
A night guard is a type of mouth guard that you wear at night while you sleep to protect your teeth from grinding or clenching. Since teeth grinding is typically an involuntary nighttime habit, a night guard protects your teeth from damage while you’re sleeping. Some types of guards are specifically made for bruxism, while others offer more general protection from other types of teeth and jaw pain, such as TMJ.
Mouth guards can be made of hard acrylic material or soft thermoplastic material. Both materials offer the same general protection; however, the softer material is more comfortable. Custom-made mouth guards can be adjusted to fit your mouth and offer more protection and comfort than over-the-counter guards.
When you grind your teeth, the forces from clenching the muscles in your face and jaw are transferred to the teeth. This leads to increased wear on the teeth and can cause them to break or fracture. Over time, this can result in the need for costly restorative dental treatments. The same problem can happen with bruxism, the term referring to the habit of grinding the teeth at night.
Night guards work by preventing the lower teeth from making physical contact with the opposing upper teeth during biting and chewing. This cushioning effect can prevent damage to the natural teeth by reducing the intensity of contact between the teeth.
If you have a condition like sleep apnea that requires that you wear a CPAP mask during the night, then it is best to use a custom-made night guard in order to prevent your CPAP mask from rubbing against your gums and causing irritation. If you experience daytime symptoms in addition to nighttime symptoms, you may be suffering from TMJ disorder, which requires specialized treatment.
The severity of tooth grinding can vary from one person to another. It’s best to talk with your dentist about your symptoms and treatment options, so you know what’s right for you!
To find out more about the dental services offered at Harbor Dental, call our Fort Collins dentist CO at (970) 377-2456 or schedule an online consultation. You can also visit us at 2726 Illinois Dr. #101, Fort Collins, CO 80525.