Do you grind or clench your teeth while you sleep? If so, perhaps wearing a night guard might help you. As professional dentists, we’re here to tell you all you need to know, so that you can decide if a night guard is right for you.
What are they and why do you need one?
A night guard is a preventative device used to help those who grind and clench their teeth. It does this by providing a protective layer that acts as a cushion between your top and bottom teeth.
Headaches, jaw pain or toothache are signs that you may be suffering from a condition known as bruxism. This is the medical term for grinding and clenching teeth. It is a very common problem, affecting around 10% of the UK population.
Other symptoms of bruxism can include tight jaw muscles (which can lead to TMJ: temporomandibular joint disorder), facial, neck and shoulder pain, swelling of the jaw, tooth sensitivity and dental cavities. In the most extreme cases, some people may experience receding gums and tooth loss. This is because grinding and clenching your teeth leads to dental erosion that exposes your dentine (nerve endings).
Bruxism is caused by a variety of issues, such as stress/anxiety, an abnormal bite, or crooked teeth. If you are experiencing any of these problems, then we may recommend wearing a night guard whilst your sleep.
How will a night guard help you?
Evidence has shown that, with regular use of a night guard, around 85% of people stop grinding and clenching their teeth. Regular wear of a night guard, will help you, and possibly your partner get a better night’s sleep. Night guards are proven to stop chronic headaches and can prevent further damage to your teeth.
Bruxism is also the leading cause of root canal infection. By wearing a night guard, it is the ideal way to avoid a costly outlay with root canal surgery.
Over-the-counter night guards v. custom made night guards:
Whether to purchase an over-the-counter night guard, or get one custom-fitted with your dentist, is open for debate.
With regards to cost, over-the-counter night guards can be purchased from all major healthcare chains. However, because they are made from a plastic much softer and thinner than custom-made night guards, each unit tends only to have a lifespan of a couple of months.
At High Street Dental, every night guard we make is highly personalised to each wearer. This provides maximum protection every day. Each guard is highly durable and can last up to ten years, which makes the custom-fit option much more cost effective. Also, because each night guard is moulded perfectly to every tooth, it won’t push on your gums or feel too tight on your teeth, providing you with optimal comfort too.