If you are reading about night guards it is very likely that you have been told that you need to wear night guards over your teeth. It is good that you are reading about them. The next few paragraphs will give you all the information that you need to have about dental night guards offered at Lifeworks Dental. That is, what they are, why you should wear them, and how to get them, etc.
What Are Night Guards?
Dental night guards are plastic shells worn on the upper teeth due to a number of dental situations. They are somewhat similar to the teeth guards worn by sportsmen and sports-women to protect their teeth.
Why Night Guards at Lifeworks Dental?
Some people tend to grind their teeth (bruxism) or clench them tight. This happens most often at night but can also happen during the day, especially in moments of stress. Clenching can also be caused by reasons other than nervous stress, like nasal obstruction. Although the preferred treatment is to cure the cause, night guards can reduce the damage caused by these habits. As the name suggests, they are a protective dental device worn over the upper (or lower teeth) to prevent the following:
- Teeth grinding– They tend to grind their teeth at night, or even during the day in moments of stress. This is also called bruxism.
- Clenching-They clenches their teeth at night or in moments of stress.
Night guards are used to preventing excessive damage to teeth as a result of grinding and clenching. In addition, we also prescribe night guards for patients who are wearing veneers or have undergone a complete smile design and have bruxism (habit of teeth grinding).
How are Nightguards Helpful in Preventing Dental Problems?
If you are in the habit of grinding or clenching your teeth, you are likely to suffer the following. Teeth guards will prevent these forms of damage:
- A toothache– If you are a bruxist i.e. you have a habit of grinding your teeth excessively during night or daytime, you are very likely to suffer from frequent aches in the head, neck, or the jaws.
- Smoothened Tooth surfaces– Mating surfaces of your teeth will gradually wear out and reduce the natural pits and fissures in the chewing surfaces of your teeth, thus making them less effective in grinding food.
- Change in Your Bite- The tooth wear will also reduce the length of your molars in the long term, give you a close bite, and even change the very shape of your face and affect your smile. Ultimately, bite correction may be required if the problems are not corrected timely.
- Tooth Sensitivity– Wear of tooth surfaces can also cause teeth to become sensitive to hot and cold foods, due to the excessive wearing of the outer enamel layer of the tooth.
- Damage to Veneers– Grinding and clenching can bring undue mechanical forces on veneers you may be wearing. The veneers can get damaged.
- Tooth damage– Excessive pressure on the teeth can cause them to crack, chip, or even break.
- TMJ Problems – if you have a habit of grinding or clenching, it puts direct pressure on the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), causing TMJ symptoms such as difficult or reduced mouth opening, joint pains and even dislocation or fracture. Therefore, to avoid TMJ treatment and TMJ Headache treatment, it is better to prevent damage by wearing Nightguards.
Types of Nightguards
Dental night guards are of two types. Off-the-shelf night guards and custom-made night guards. Both have merits and demerits.
- Off-the-shelf Night Guards are available in most pharmacies and are meant to fit anyone. They are boiled in water until they soften, and then the patient bites on them and shapes them to fit as comfortably as possible. For this reason, these are made rather thin. Having been mass-produced, they are significantly cheaper. However, they cannot be expected to be as comfortable as custom-made ones. Having been made thin, they have a much shorter life.
- Custom-made Night Guards – these night guards are custom made by us at Lifeworks Dental. For this purpose, our dentists, Dr. Kini Tran and Dr. Kim Nguyen will make molds of your teeth and the guards are made in the lab according to these molds. Thus, custom-made guards fit perfectly and are very comfortable to wear. Since they do not have to be adjusted to your teeth later, they can be made of thicker plastic. This gives them a longer life, about ten years on the average. A disadvantage is that the manufacturer can take some time. More importantly, they are more expensive but they provide better comfort and quality.
Are Night Guards a Complete Treatment?
Night guards will prevent the many forms of damage due to bruxism. But they are not a treatment for bruxism. Bruxism should be treated by looking for the primary causes. If you feel that you have a habit of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaws, then you should not waste any time and visit us immediately for treatment. At lifeworks Dental, Drs. Tran and Nguyen will thoroughly evaluate your case to identify the cause and to treat you accordingly. Remember, the key here is to seek immediate help once you realize that you have a habit of grinding or clenching.