Have you ever wondered what you do at night when you’re asleep? Some people talk in their sleep, some snore, and some are so active that the sheets and covers are falling off the bed by morning!
Many of us also clench or grind our teeth at night while we sleep. This is called bruxism.
If your jaw is hurting, you have a toothache, or you have a mild headache when you wake up in the morning, it’s likely that you’ve been grinding or clenching your teeth at night. If that describes you, you might want to look into getting a night guard to help prevent damage to your teeth and jaw.
What Is a Night Guard?
A night guard – also called an occlusal guard or bite guard – is a dental device made out of plastic that you wear over your teeth to prevent them from grinding together. You typically wear the dental guard over your upper teeth, but dentists make them for the lower teeth as well.
Their purpose is to serve as a protective barrier to cushion the strain from your upper and lower teeth when they grind together. A bite guard can not only help at nighttime while you sleep, but it can also help to protect your teeth while you play sports.
Your dentist may also recommend a night guard if you have TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). TMJ is caused by a slight misalignment of the teeth and/or jaw, and a guard can help correct your bite over time with continual use at night.
How Can I Get a Bite Guard?
You can get pre-made night guards from your local drugstore. However, this type will not perfectly fit you and may feel uncomfortable. Therefore, dentists recommend you get one custom-made.
For a customized bite guard, your dentist will take into consideration the reasons why you need the device. This way, they will know what type of guard to make for you. The dentist will then take an impression of your teeth.
How Do I Know If I Need One?
Consider getting a night guard if you experience these symptoms:
Signs of Teeth Wear
Bruxism damages your teeth. The grinding can eventually wear down the enamel, making you prone to cavities, sensitivity, chips, and cracks.
Jaw or Face Pain
In addition to damaging your teeth, bruxism can also put excess pressure on your jaw. Repeatedly biting down and grinding your teeth can put a lot of strain on your jaw.
This pain can spread to your face, neck, and ears. Over time, it can even develop into TMJ, which can cause clicking and stiffness in the jaw.
Have you ever awakened to a splitting headache for no apparent reason? This pain may be due to severe teeth grinding or clenching while you were sleeping. A night guard can help relieve this pressure and stop those headaches.
Trusted Dentist in South Florida
If you are in or around the Pompano Beach area in South Florida, our team at My Pompano Dentist is here to serve all of your dental needs.
If you’re wondering whether you might need a night guard, let our professionals evaluate your teeth. If you are a good candidate for a bite guard, we can create a custom-fitted one for you that feels comfortable and natural.
Schedule an appointment with us today by calling (954) 941-2412 or fill out the online form on our website. You’ll be sleeping your way through a peaceful and grind-less night.