A nightguard is a common device to curb sleep bruxism, which is grinding and clenching at night. If you grind your teeth at night, there’s an average force of 250 pounds of pressure on your teeth. They're often referred to as deprogrammers, as they can train someone to avoid clenching altogether. They also prevent tooth wear while grinding, with their protective layer between your teeth.
People usually aren’t even aware that they grind their teeth. Others may suffer from headaches and muscle pain in the mornings. Even if an individual is asymptomatic, if tooth wear is present and noticed by your dental team, it's imperative to take action and prevent further deterioration of your teeth. If left untreated, bruxism can cause serious, irreversible damage to both virgin (untreated) and restored (fillings, veneers, crowns) teeth, as well as implants.
With continued loss of enamel, followed by loss of dentin (the tooth structure underneath enamel), patients are at an increased risk of cavities and sensitivity. A bruxer also has a higher chance of fracturing a tooth, possibly leading to tooth loss.
Grinding and clenching can also lead to changes in one's bite and consequently a shorter lower third section of the face, due to an overall loss in tooth height. This can give an individual a much older appearance with the face at rest, as well as an aged look even when smiling if little to no tooth structure no longer shows. The nightguard not only protects your teeth – it also helps with jaw positioning for a much more balanced bite while in place.
Over-the-counter nightguards can increase the force used by the jaws, which can actually cause the jaws to come out of alignment, leading to further damage of your mouth. These types of nightguards can also be uncomfortable, bulky, and unstable. If they're not well-made, you may also quickly grind through them. If the nightguard is not custom-made, a patient can develop problems with their TMJ (temporomandibular) joint and surrounding muscles, due to a poorly fitted appliance.
While your teeth are designed to withstand the pressures of biting and eating, they’re not meant to withstand bruxism. By wearing our nightguards, you can protect your teeth and prevent tooth pain!