A night guard is an oral appliance that fits comfortably over your teeth while you sleep. These devices were designed to help keep teeth from shifting out of place and to prevent jaw clenching or grinding, which can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). These appliances are usually made from hard acrylic or plastic. Custom-made night guards are often preferred because they fit better. At PS Dental, our dentist may recommend you wear your night guard every night or just when you sleep on your back. If you grind your teeth at night, you can experience several unpleasant side effects. You may wake up with a headache or sore jaw muscles. You may also notice signs of premature aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, or crow’s feet around your eyes. Wearing a night guard may help prevent these side effects from occurring by spreading the biting forces from your bite evenly across the surface of your teeth.
Over-the-counter night guards are usually only recommended for minor cases of bruxism, primarily as a short-term solution. This type of night guard is inexpensive and usually requires a few adjustments to get a proper fit and an additional visit to have the guard adjusted by your general dentist.
Custom-made night guards are a practical option for most patients with mild to moderate teeth grinding, clenching, or TMJ disorder cases. These guards are made based on impressions taken by your dentist and then fabricated by an outside lab. They will be made to fit your unique mouth and will have a higher upfront cost than an OTC model, but they will last for several years and can be cost-effective for patients over time.
A night guard is an acrylic appliance that looks similar to a mouthguard used by athletes. It is worn while sleeping to protect teeth from grinding or clenching. Grinding and clenching create pressure on the teeth, leading to cracked, fractured, or even tooth loss. Night guards are also recommended for patients who suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) to prevent damage to the jaw joints.
The dentist takes an impression of the teeth to make a custom fit night guard. These guards are custom-fit to your mouth by your dentist and are comfortable to wear. They’re also easy to clean and maintain, so you can wear them long-term to protect your smile and oral health. By wearing your night guard every night, you can prevent serious issues with your teeth, such as chips and cracks. Plus, you won’t have to worry about being woken up by pain or needing to adjust your device when you wake up! The night guard is flexible and can bend to the natural shape of your mouth, so it won’t bother you while you sleep. It can also be worn during the day for patients who may experience jaw clenching or teeth grinding during activities like driving.
If you want to learn more about how a night guard can keep your smile healthy and beautiful, contact PS Dental at 12017 SW 70th Ave, Tigard, OR 97223, or call (503) 5744000 to schedule a consultation! Our dentist can help you determine if a night guard is right for you and how you can maintain your new smile.