The night guard has become quite the jack of all trades throughout the dental community. Also referred to as dental guards, bite splints, mouth guards, or nocturnal bite plates — night guards simply provide a barrier between your top and bottom rows of teeth. This separation of teeth can serve a number of purposes from holding your teeth in position like a retainer, to relaxing your jaw in order to not clench at night by cushioning the muscles being strained in the facial and jaw areas. Below we’ve compiled 5 reasons you should probably be wearing a dental night guard.
Less Tension & Oral Pain
Night guards are usually molded to fit your mouth and teeth snug enough to stay in, but still loose enough to remove. Night guards are designed to reduce the stress and tension placed predominantly on your jaw joints and muscles. Not only does this help prevent or lessen any oral pain you may be experiencing, but it also helps reduce further wear and tear on your jaw and teeth.
Better Night’s Sleep
Dental night guards fit so well you will barely notice it from the start, but after a few nights of consistent use you’ll begin to notice how the reducing of your symptoms has also led to an overall better night’s sleep. Struggling to fall asleep or waking up due to severe jaw pain can take a toll on your sleep patterns. Which is why most patients experiencing temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain, also struggle with sleeping through the night or feeling well rested in the morning. The night guard aids your sleep by relaxing the jaw muscle throughout the night, thus preventing any jaw clenching or teeth grinding.
Another common symptom of TMJ is frequent headaches, also referred to as chronic headaches or tension headaches. The tension from your temporal jaw joints and muscles can often lead to this acute form of headache. The headaches can be severe, brief, mild, or longlasting. Sometimes these headaches occur due to stress in the buildup to bed, while the majority of the time you may wake up with a splitting headache resulting from clenching or grinding all night. The true miracle of night guards is going to bed anticipating the pain and waking up with none. Night guards have consistently proven to reduce and eliminate temporal headaches, jaw pain, and/or neck stiffness.
Prevent Tooth Damage
One of the most severe effects of clenching and grinding in your sleep is when so much pressure is placed on your teeth, fillings, or a dental crown that a crack or fracture occurs. Teeth are meant to sustain the pressure of chewing and biting, however the long-term damage of clenching or grinding may lead to significant damage. Damaging a tooth or crown can result in more invasive oral surgeries such as receiving a dental implant or teeth bonding.
Before you start complaining about how much a custom-made dental night guard will set your back account back, consider how much you’ll be saving yourself by avoiding any form of oral surgery. The long term damage done by nightly clenching and grinding can be exponentially more expensive. Trust the experts when they tell you it’s better to spend your money on preventative action than after the damage has already been done. A dental night guard is more of an investment into your health, while restorative dental treatments can be a far more costly expense. You will never regret spending less money to maintain your teeth as opposed to spending more to repair damage. Treat your teeth like your car — the more you take care of it, the more it will take care of you.