do i need a night guard

Many of us know the importance of protecting our teeth during daytime activities, like playing recreational or competitive sports, but doing so at night is just as essential.

A condition known as bruxism arises when one frequently grinds or clenches their teeth while sleeping. Most of the time, this occurs involuntarily, and we become aware of this habit only when the symptoms associated with teeth grinding manifest themselves.

Symptoms of Bruxism

  • Clenching, grinding, or gnashing of the teeth
  • Eroded tooth enamel, leading to sensitivity due the dentin layer underneath being exposed
  • Tooth, jaw, neck, or ear pain
  • Teeth are chipped, cracked, or have become flat
  • Loose-feeling teeth
  • Lower facial muscles feel sore
  • Poor sleep quality

To learn more about this specific treatment, feel free to contact us at Agape Dental Clinic. Our experienced dentist near you is ready to assist you with all your needs and help get your smile back to operating smoothly and looking beautiful.

Causes of Bruxism

Several factors may play a role in the development of bruxism, including:

  • Children are the demographic most impacted by bruxism.
  • It’s common for people feeling overwhelmed or anxious to start clenching their teeth in response.
  • Specific medications can cause one to engage in grinding and clenching. Common examples include antidepressants.
  • Caffeine, tobacco products, and alcohol may all contribute to bruxism development.
  • Other Conditions. General health conditions, including epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and ADHD, are associated with bruxism.

Long-term or severe bruxism may give rise to temporomandibular joint disorder, abbreviated to TMD. This refers to pain caused by jaw dysfunction due to damage to the hinge joint that connects the jaw to the lower skull. The physical act of grinding puts excessive pressure and strain on the jaw, leading to misalignment and pain when it moves.

If you have questions about these issues or are unsure whether to seek treatment, please speak with our dentist in Millwoods. We are happy to have you come in for a consultation. Your smile will be evaluated physically and with x-rays, allowing our team to identify the best solution.

Why a Night Guard is Worth Considering 

You can explore multiple avenues to address bruxism. Making lifestyle adjustments like quitting smoking and practicing relaxation techniques like mediation are just some examples — another is acquiring a custom night guard near you.

A night guard is an oral device designed to protect patients’ smiles while they sleep. While a night guard doesn’t stop you from clenching, it absorbs the impacts and cushions your teeth. Your upper and lower arch are separated, preventing them from rubbing against one another.

Night guard wearers experience various benefits, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Pain relief
  • Preserves tooth enamel
  • Better jaw function
  • Protects any dental restorations
  • Custom-made to fit your oral dimensions
  • Allows you to sleep better
  • Reduces facial and headaches

At Agape Dental Clinic, we ensure that medical-grade plastic is used to design your night guard. This material is comfortable to wear, won’t irritate your tissues, and is flexible yet durable. Custom guards usually last about three months before requiring replacement.

Getting Your Night Guard 

Here is a general overview of the steps involved in getting a personalized night guard in Millwoods:

Once it’s been decided that a night guard is right for you, our dentist will take impressions of your smile. This ensures that your appliance fits you exactly. We use digital technology to do this as opposed to using messy putty. The impressions are brought to dental lab where they guide technicians in the creation of the night guard. We’ll have you return to Agape for a follow-up appointment to receive your appliance. Our dentist will check that it fits, and you’re satisfied with the final product before letting you go.

Keep your night guard clean and store it in a safe place at home. The better condition your appliance is in, the more effective it will be. If you need any adjustments made, let us know!

A Protected Smile is a Healthy Smile 

It is never too late to take the initiative and protect your smile from forces that can damage it. Our skilled, friendly staff are here to help you with all your goals, whether having an oral appliance made, cleaning your smile, or illuminating its appearance.

Call, email, or drop by our practice in person to set up an appointment. We are excited to work with you soon!