You may have just had it recommended by your dentist, or maybe you?re considering it yourself because you’ve noticed you’ve been grinding/clenching your teeth, but it’s likely that you need to wear a night guard while you’re sleeping.
If you?re unsure of exactly what a night guard is, how to use one, and why you really need to consider investing in one, I’m going to be discussing these in this blog, so let’s dive in.?
What Is A Night Guard
The first thing that we should talk about is what exactly a night guard is. It’s not a common thing that people talk about, but you’d be surprised how many people you know are actually using one! Essentially a night guard is a mouthpiece, similar to what you would see a sports player wearing during a game, that you wear at night to help protect your teeth from grinding or clenching. If you?re a bruxer (teeth grinder) or find yourself clenching a lot, there?s a very big chance that this is something that you do at night as well. And, while you can sometimes stop yourself from doing it while you’re awake, you can?t really stop yourself if you?re in a deep sleep.?
I’ve seen a lot of “night guards” out there, some still blow my mind. ?So let’s talk about what a night guard should look like: A night guard is thicker than a retainer, should be worn on the top teeth, and should cover all of the top teeth!
Why Invest In A Night Guard
Now that you know what a night guard is, let?s talk about why you should invest in one to help protect your teeth from the damage that may be caused while you?re sleeping.
Teeth grinding is a common dental problem that many people experience. Many wonder just how serious teeth grinding can be, and the answer is that it can be extremely serious, resulting in major problems with the teeth as well as other structures of the mouth.
Most people who grind their teeth are completely unaware that they have this behavior, which sometimes makes the condition hard to detect when it begins.
Due to the strain put on the teeth when you grind or clench you risk wearing down the enamel and changing the overall shape of the teeth. ?It can go beyond the cosmetic aspect of your teeth because you also risk fracturing or breaking your natural teeth or crowns/veneers. ?You also risk widening of your periodontal ligament around each tooth (basically you risk damaging the surrounding bone structure around your teeth). ?Additionally, because of the pressure put on your teeth, the muscles of the jaw, and the joints of the jaw, pain is also a common problems associated with teeth grinding. This may mean headaches, ear aches, jaw pain, and tooth pain. It can also lead to TMJ disorder.?
One thing that I should note about using night guards is that they are not a permanent fix. They don?t stop you from grinding or clenching your teeth while you?re sleeping. However, they do help provide a protective layer in your mouth to help cut down the amount of damage can be done to your teeth from these habits. ?
While you can get night guards over the counter, I don?t think that?s the best way to go if you really want to find the right solution for you. I always recommend getting a custom night guard. ?There are so many materials that a night guard can be made out of, and your dentist would be the best to determine just what type of night guard would be best for you. As with anything, if you can get it tailored just for you, you will have a greater chance at preventing damage to your teeth, jaw, and surrounding muscles.?
What To Do Next
You may have already started to notice changes in the strength or the appearance of your teeth and maybe you haven?t been sure why that is. If this is a concern for you then I highly recommend that you visit your dentist to see if a night guard is going be the right treatment for you. I recommend taking your dentist suggestions and if a night guard is right for you, getting one that is custom fitted to your mouth.?
If you have any more questions about this topic, you can find me on Instagram! Send me a direct message and I will be sure to get back to you!