All You Should Know about the Use of Night Guards in Dentistry

All You Should Know about the Use of Night Guards in Dentistry

Aug 31, 2021

Did you know that dentists do more than just attend to your teeth and gums? There are many dimensions to dentistry that our experts handle, including prescribing oral devices that can treat various issues. While you may have heard of mouthguards, you may not have heard enough about the use of night guards in dentistry. These are oral appliances that treat dental issues not commonly discussed by people when they refer to common or general dentistry.

If you are unsure whether you need a night guard, you should consult our dentists at Claremont Dental Group for to help you sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed rather than tired or in pain.

What Are Night Guards?

In dentistry, these oral appliances go by many names. They are referred to as either mouthguards, mouth protectors, nocturnal bite plates, or bite splints. Their usage in dentistry differs between patients.
Technically, mouth protectors are made for the sole purpose of protecting your mouth. Some focus on protecting your teeth, while others work to protect your gums and jaws in addition. Either way, mouth guards are important for reducing the impact typical from dental injuries and traumas. It is why they are popular for athletes who play high-contact sports (like football) that increase their risks of dental trauma.

When Are Night Guards Used?

Night guards are not recommended for all patients. After your diagnosis, your dentist will best determine which treatment alternative best suits you. Night guards are only used for treating the following oral issues:

  1. Bruxism – This is a medical term used to refer to teeth grinding. It is a common occurrence, particularly among children, when they sleep. It happens when people grind their teeth against each other. For it to merit treatment, it means that your bruxism is excessive, so much so that it causes many oral issues like enamel thinning, tooth sensitivity, and jaw pain.
  2. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) – This is a condition that affects the connective tissue of the jawbone and the skull. When the joint is problematic, it can impair jaw functionality. This kind of disorder causes problems like recurrent migraine headaches, jaw pain, jaw lock, problems chewing, speaking and yawning, ear pain, and swelling. As a treatment, your dentist may prescribe a night guard. The device will, in this case, reduce the amount of pressure directed to the jawbone that may cause issues in the connective tissue.
  3. Relieving the symptoms of sleep apnea – While it is a sleeping disorder, sleep apnea can be diagnosed by a dentist. It features shortness of breath and poor breathing when you sleep. For a few seconds up to a minute in your sleep, you stop breathing. Such episodes can be fatal in severe cases and need to be addressed. Night guards can be customized to relieve these symptoms. When designed, the night guard for sleep apnea will help keep your upper and lower jaw slightly open, therefore, opening the airways better when you sleep. This will allow you to breathe better, which will alleviate the symptoms of sleep apnea.

Indicators That You May Need a Night Guard

You may be a good candidate for night guards if you:

  1. Snore a lot and loudly when you sleep.
  2. Are fatigued despite sleeping at night.
  3. Have jaw pain.
  4. Have recurrent migraine headaches.
  5. Have severe tooth sensitivity that is accompanied by jaw pain.

Where to Get Your Night Guard

Unlike typical mouth protectors that you can get over the counter, night guards are most effective when they come from your dentist. A dentist starts with a routine exam, determines your need, and takes impressions. From there, the night guard will be created in a lab to your specific measurements. For a night guard to be effective, it must fit your mouth perfectly. Otherwise, the night guard you get can make your breathing worse and fail to achieve its purpose.

If you are unsure about your options regarding getting a night guard, reach out to our Prosthodontist in Claremont Dental Group for an elaborate consultation regarding your treatment alternatives.

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