Nightguards are devices that are worn on the teeth while sleeping to protect them from wear and tear during the night. They are typically recommended for patients that suffer from temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMD, and individuals that grind or clench their teeth in their sleep. The pressure from biting down or grinding back and forth over a prolonged period can cause significant damage to teeth on both the bottom and top of your mouth.
Nightguards are usually made of a plastic material that covers either your lower teeth, upper teeth, or both. Most often they cover only the upper teeth, but braces and other dental appliances may require others to wear them for both sets of teeth. They don’t stop you from grinding your teeth or clenching them, but they do keep teeth from chipping or cracking due to the increased pressure in the jaw. They also prevent jaw pain from occurring and causing other symptoms, such as neck or shoulder pain.
Not everyone needs to wear a nightguard, but if you notice pain in the teeth or jaw upon awakening, then you should speak with a dentist in your area, like R. Boyd Gilleland, DDS, PA. An experienced dental office like ours can do a comprehensive and thorough dental exam to uncover any conditions that are causing you to grind your teeth.
Bruxism, or grinding teeth, can occur when you experience significant stress in life. It can also occur due to dental reasons, such as TMD, that cause some kind of problem with the jaw joints and muscles. Many people are unaware of their grinding until a partner or family member points it out. Dr. Gilleland can diagnose your bruxism and recommend treatment, such as wearing a nightguard, that will allow you to sleep more soundly and comfortably.
Nightguards are comfortable trays that are fitted to the shape of your teeth. They allow you to speak normally and breathe with ease while giving your mouth the protection it needs. They keep teeth in place and do not let grinding wear away at your enamel.
Speak with your local dentist about your dental options and whether a nightguard can alleviate some of the symptoms of bruxism or TMD.