Do I Need a Night Guard?

You might find yourself wondering if you need a night guard if you have a habit of grinding your teeth. These are dental devices that are used to reduce the effects of teeth grinding and clenching. Wearing a night guard every night before going to bed can take some time to get used to, but it is certainly worth the effort if you grind their teeth.

What is a night guard?

This is a device that is placed in the mouth to minimize the effects of teeth clenching and grinding. The former refers to biting down hard for a period of time, while the latter refers to the back-and-forth motion of the jaw.

Night guards are also known as bite splints, occlusal splints or occlusal guards. Most of these prosthetics are made from plastics and typically only cover the top teeth. Patients who wear braces will need a specialized device that covers the top and bottom teeth.

A mouth guard will not stop a patient from grinding or clenching their teeth, but it does cushion the pressure on teeth when the person grinds. They also help position the jaw properly and improve the person's quality of sleep

Understanding teeth grinding and clenching

Teeth grinding is also known as bruxism. It is often the result of being stressed or unresolved emotional issues. It is a common thing that affects millions of people in the U.S.

Most people who grind their teeth are not even aware of their condition. That is because it normally happens while the person sleeps. Most people become aware of their habit when a person who shares a room with them points it out or a dentist notices the symptoms during a dental examination.

When a person habitually grinds their teeth, the enamel eventually wears off. Once this protective layer of teeth is gone, the person becomes more vulnerable to oral issues like cavities.

A good night guard should not affect the patient's ability to breathe. It should feel comfortable, and it is best to avoid eating or drinking with it on.

Are night guards the only way to deal with teeth grinding?

Mouth guards are commonly used to deal with teeth grinding, but there are other things that can be done to combat it. These include:

  • Limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption
  • Avoiding anything that contains nicotine
  • Reducing stress with relaxation techniques before going to bed

Is there any pain associated with using a mouth guard?

It might take some time to get used to wearing a mouth guard before going to bed, but there is no pain involved. It typically takes about a week before the device starts to feel normal in the patient's mouth.

Dentists advise that a new mouth guard wearer should put it in a few hours before going to bed so they can get used to it.

Grind your teeth often? Set up a consultation with one of our dentists and explore your options.

Here's what you need …

For more information or to schedule an appointment with Titan Dental Care, request an appointment in our Sterling dental office here: Or call us at (703) 745-3227.

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