Dental night guards are plastic appliances that are worn over the top of the teeth in order to prevent them from coming together when the upper and lower jaws are closed. This is important as for some patients and particularly those with a condition called bruxism, this action can lead to pressure being placed onto the teeth that then causes a range of unpleasant symptoms and damage to the teeth.
Bruxism is a very common dental condition that is estimated to affect as much as 10% of the population at any one time. In some patients, it is temporary and resolves itself fairly quickly before any intervention is needed. However, for other people, bruxism becomes a chronic ailment that needs treatment in order to prevent the unpleasant symptoms associated with it and permanent damage to the teeth.
Patients who have bruxism hey may be awake and find that they are subconsciously clenching their jaw and placing stress on their teeth. Alternatively, they may be asleep and are clenching or grinding their teeth. Either action places a great deal of stress onto the teeth as they push together and move laterally against one another, causing a range of issues including erosion of the sharp biting surfaces, damage to the enamel and an increased risk of dental decay.
Symptoms of bruxism
Many people who suffer from bruxism are initially unaware of the condition. In fact, it often isn’t until a partner that we are sleeping with tells us that we realize that we are affected. Nevertheless, there are a range of symptoms associated with the condition including:
- Jaw pain
- Facial pain
- Stiffness and limited movements in the jaw
- Sensitive teeth
- Obvious damage to the teeth such as cracks, chips or erosion
- Disrupted sleep that leaves you feeling tired during the day
- Problems with the joints on either side of your face where the jaw meets the skull (the temporomandibular joints)
Dental night guards for bruxism
Night guards form a physical barrier between the teeth, preventing them from coming into contact with one another. This can prevent the majority of the damage caused by grinding and clenching, enabling you to maintain the integrity of your teeth for much longer.
Although it is possible to purchase generic night guards, many patients find that these are fairly uncomfortable. This is because no two arches of teeth are the same, and the chances of a generic night guard fitting you well are fairly slim. For this reason, many patients prefer to speak to their dentist about a bespoke night guard that is created specifically for them based on the shape, size and overall structure of their teeth. This ensures unrivalled comfort that makes patients much more likely to both wear their night guard and enjoy a reasonable quality of sleep while doing so. This makes bespoke night guards a much more effective option for preventing bruxism.
If you think that you may be suffering from bruxism and would benefit from a dental night guard to protect your teeth, our expert dental care team would be delighted to assist you.