Teeth clenching and grinding are highly detrimental to your teeth in the long run, especially since they cause bruxism, which is a serious dental problem that occurs when you continuously clench, gnash or grind your teeth in your sleep. Luckily, dental experts have created a device known as the ‘night guard’ to cover the biting surface of your teeth while you are sleeping. In this article, you’ll learn the reasons for wearing a night guard.
What’s a Night Guard?
As noted above, a night guard is a piece of plastic designed to cover the biting surface of your teeth while you are asleep. This device can be either soft or hard and is custom-made to cover your teeth without being too bulky or uncomfortable. It can either be placed on the biting surface of your lower or upper teeth. Some people refer to this piece of plastic as a mouth guard, bite splint, nocturnal bite plate, occlusal guard, or dental guard.
Reasons for Wearing a Night Guard
Preventing Complications Caused by Bruxism
Bruxism causes jaw pain and serious teeth problems. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to know you are grinding or gnashing your teeth while asleep. You’ll only realize there’s a problem with your teeth when they become loose or painful. Sometimes bruxism causes fractured TMJ, jaw and neck muscle pain, loss of teeth, and worn-out teeth. The most effective way to prevent this problem is to wear a night guard when you go to sleep.
Preserving Your Bite
Since your night guard will be custom-made to fit your teeth precisely, it will help you to retain your bite. Apart from protecting the surface of your teeth, a night guard will also prevent your bite from changing over time.
Preventing Teeth Damage
The more your teeth grind and gnash, the higher the risk of losing enamel. This erosion leads to teeth sensitivity. Consequently, it becomes extremely difficult for you to have a cold or hot drinks and food. It also exposes your teeth to the risk of decay due to weakened enamel. A night guard prevents teeth from grinding when you are asleep and not in control.
Preventing Chronic Headaches
As mentioned above, the first sign of bruxism is a chronic headache. These are migraines caused by tensed muscles in your shoulders, mouth, jaws, and neck. But you have to see a medical doctor for confirmation that you are suffering from bruxism. If you have this condition, your doctor may prescribe a night guard to ease the symptoms.