Why do you need a nightguard for teeth grinding?
Teeth grinding and clenching are common reactions to stress, fear, or anger. About half of the population does it from time to time, but about 5% do it regularly and forcefully, even in the absence of an immediate stressor. Teeth grinding often happens during sleep. Due to the force applied during episodes of teeth grinding, the condition can pose a risk to tooth and jaw health. Treatment options are available to reduce the impact of teeth grinding, and nightguards are one of them. Before we learn more about nightguards and see how they can help, let us try to understand what exactly is teeth grinding.
Symptoms of teeth grinding
Most people who grind their teeth in sleep won’t know of it. However, they may experience the following symptoms indicative of teeth grinding:
- Aching teeth immediately after waking up
- Headache, ear or jaw pain
- Aching/stiffness of face and temples after waking up
- A painful jaw that can lead to a condition called temporomandibular disorder
- Teeth sensitivity
- Chipped or cracked tooth
- Loose teeth
- Disturbed sleep
- Pain while eating
Some common risk factors for teeth grinding include stress and anxiety, snoring, alcohol, smoking, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and drugs such as antidepressants.
If you think you grind your teeth, you should speak to your dentist about possible treatment options such as mouth guards. Here is what you need to know about nightguards.
What is a nightguard?
A nightguard is a retainer-like piece made of soft or hard plastic which covers the biting surfaces. It is worn on either the top or bottom set of teeth. They work by forming a protective barrier between the upper and low teeth. Wearing your nightguard while you sleep prevents teeth grinding and the need for restorative treatments in the future.
While nightguards are easily available over-the-counter, it is always better to have one custom-made by your dentist. Everyone has different teeth patterns so a nightguard is custom-made for patients by molding it to fit their teeth perfectly.
Over-the-counter mouthguards tend to be uncomfortable and may not be as effective as custom-made ones. When you visit your dentist to get a mouthguard, they will take an impression of your teeth, send the impression to the lab, and have a nightguard designed for you. So, it takes two dentist appointments to get your custom-made nightguard.
What are the benefits of using a nightguard for teeth grinding?
Protects teeth from damage
A mouthguard acts as a cushion to prevent damage caused by teeth grinding. In the absence of a protective barrier, teeth grinding can lead to problems such as enamel corrosion, worn-down teeth, and chipped teeth.
Prevents headaches and jaw pain
People who grind their teeth during sleep often wake up with a headache or stiffness/pain in the jaw. This happens because grinding/clenching teeth put much pressure on the jaw. Patients may feel stiffness or pain in the jaw even while chewing. A mouthguard’s cushioning effect can prevent these problems.
Comfortable and breathable
A custom-made mouthguard is specifically designed to be comfortable and easy to breathe in. While it may take some time to get used to wearing it during sleep but once you start wearing it, you will start to feel the difference. They separate your upper and lower jaws and keep the airways open, helping you breathe better at night.
Enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Those who grind their teeth at night may wake frequently and may not get a good sleep. A nightguard can allow them to sleep peacefully.
Do you think you need a nightguard to help with your teeth-grinding problem? Schedule an appointment with us, and we will see if it is best for you.