Night Guards and TMJ
Have you ever been told you grind your teeth? Has your dentist recommended a night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep? Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is very common and mostly occurs when you are asleep. Because we are unaware of what we do while we sleep, wearing a night guard is the only way to protect your teeth and jaw, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ), at night.
Symptoms of Bruxism
- Jaw pain
- Chipped teeth
- Flattened teeth
- Gingival recession
- Tooth sensitivity
Causes of Bruxism
- Sleep disorders
- Malalignment of teeth
The force of your jaws while clenching or grinding can cause discomfort in your TMJ as well as gradual physical wear on your teeth. When you grind away the enamel on your teeth, the next layer, dentin, is exposed. This can cause sensitivity, a higher incidence of decay, and eventually cracks or fractures in your teeth.
The best and easiest solution to prevent bruxism damage to your teeth is a night guard. Your dentist or dental hygienist may have recommended a night guard to you. A night guard is one of the best investments you can make in your dental health. They can save you from broken teeth, pain, and even lots of money in the future!
Here at Adams and Cheek Dentistry, we make custom night guards that are fit specifically to your mouth. A lab fabricates the night guards out of hard acrylic material which decreases the natural inclination to grind your teeth. Additionally, the guard prevents the top and bottom teeth from grinding against each other. We take impressions of your top teeth, your bottom teeth, and your bite as they come together. Using all three of these impressions, the lab fabricates a guard that is specifically made for you that is ready in just a few weeks! When you come to pick up your guard, Dr. Adams or Dr. Cheek will make sure it fits correctly and will make any adjustments that you may need.
Tips for Night Guard Compliance
Dr. Cheek often compares putting a night guard in right before bed to putting a watch on right before bed. It often feels unnatural. To improve acceptance of night guards, try putting yours in about an hour before bed and then falling asleep. It won’t be long before the night guard is part of your nightly routine!
Store them in a safe place! You wouldn’t believe how many night guards we have chewed up by dogs. Keep them out of reach of your furry friends!
Finally, and very importantly, bring your night guard to your routine cleanings and dental appointments! We will clean your guard and check the fit to make sure it is still working well for you!