Night Guard

Woman wearing a night guard

There are numerous different appliances that are used on dentistry. One of the most common which may recommend in certain situations is a night guard.

What is a Night Guard and what is it used for?

A night guard is a plastic dental appliance that fits over the top of the teeth so that the teeth in the upper and lower jaws cannot come into contact with one another when the jaw is closed. Night guards are primarily recommended for patients who have been diagnosed with a condition called bruxism and can prevent the damage that typically occurs to the teeth of those who suffer from this dental problem.

Night guards can be purchased over the counter, but these tend to be a generic size and not tailored to your teeth. As such, many people find them uncomfortable and this can dissuade them from wearing them. However, it is possible to be referred for a custom-designed night guard to be made. As you might expect, this is a night guard that is designed to the exact specification of your teeth, ensuring a perfect fit. Unsurprisingly, custom-designed night guards are significantly more comfortable for patients meaning that they are easier to wear and therefore more effective in preventing damage caused by bruxism.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a dental condition that is characterized by the clenching and grinding of teeth. This usually happens when the patient is asleep, although it isn’t unheard of for people to subconsciously clench or grind their teeth, particularly in periods of stress, anxiety or anger. Many patients with bruxism experience repeated episodes of clenching and grinding through the night.

Unfortunately, bruxism can have serious consequences for the condition and health of your teeth. This is because when it happens, the incisors and canines move laterally against one another, which can lead to damage to the enamel, erosion of the sharp biting surface and a greater risk of dental decay. In some instances, the molars also grind together, creating similar problems.

Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism

There are a variety of different symptoms associated with bruxism. These include:

- Pain in your jaw

- Stiffness and limited movement in the jaw

- Headaches and earaches

- Disrupted sleep (for your or your partner)

- Sensitive teeth

- Obvious erosion of the teeth

- Other visible damage such as cracks or chips in the teeth

By wearing a night guard when you sleep, your teeth will not be able to come into direct contact with each other and this can drastically reduce the likelihood of damage caused during episodes of bruxism.

If you would like more information on night guards and how they can benefit your teeth and your dental health, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with our team to see if a night guard might be a suitable solution for you, please don’t hesitate to contact us by calling our dentistry offices in Castro Valley, CA at (510) 674-0900.

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