Clenching & Grinding & Nightguards

Clenching and grinding (bruxism) are causally associated with obstructive breathing disorders, and are common with stress. Regardless of the cause, there are many dental related issues that can result from uncontrolled bruxism including:

  • Jaw Pain
  • Hypersensitivity of the teeth
  • Excessive wear of the teeth
  • TMJ pain
  • Hypertrophic jaw muscles (muscular/square jaws)
  • Morning headaches

It is important that if you the doctor discovers evidence of the above that you seek out treatment to alleviate the symptoms and/or prevent excessive wear of the teeth over time.

Dental night guards

Dental night guards, also known as occlusal splints or bite guards, are oral appliances designed to protect your teeth and jaw from the negative effects of teeth grinding or clenching during sleep, a condition known as bruxism. They are typically made of a durable plastic material and are custom-fitted to your mouth by a dentist.

The main purposes of dental night guards are:

  1. Teeth Protection: Night guards act as a barrier between your upper and lower teeth, preventing them from grinding against each other. This helps to protect your tooth enamel from excessive wear, chipping, and fractures caused by bruxism.
  2. Jaw Joint Relief: Bruxism can place excessive pressure on the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), which can lead to jaw pain, headaches, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Night guards can help to alleviate some of this pressure and reduce discomfort.
  3. Muscle Relaxation: Night guards can help relax the muscles in your jaw, face, and neck, reducing muscle tension and the associated pain and fatigue.
  4. Sleep Quality Improvement: By minimizing teeth grinding and clenching, night guards can help improve your sleep quality. Bruxism can disrupt sleep patterns and lead to waking up with a sore jaw or headache. Using a night guard can help you achieve a more restful sleep.

To use a dental night guard effectively:

  1. Customization: Visit a dentist who will take impressions of your teeth to create a custom-fit night guard. This ensures optimal comfort and effectiveness.
  2. Cleaning: Clean your night guard thoroughly before and after each use. Use a toothbrush and mild soap or denture cleaner to remove any plaque or debris. Rinse it thoroughly and store it in a protective case to prevent damage or contamination.
  3. Insertion: Before bed, ensure your night guard is clean and dry. Insert it into your mouth, making sure it fits securely and comfortably over your teeth. Follow the specific instructions provided by your dentist.
  4. Maintenance: Regularly inspect your night guard for signs of wear or damage. If you notice any cracks, sharp edges, or changes in fit, contact your dentist for a replacement.

Remember to consult with a dental professional to determine if a night guard is suitable for you and to receive personalized advice based on your specific dental needs.