A night guard is a device you wear while you sleep to prevent grinding your teeth and potentially causing damage to them and your jaw. Grinding your teeth at night is called bruxism, which can be caused by stress or anxiety. Many patients do not realize that they are going through this habit until a professional notices signs of damage. And when you lose a tooth due to grinding, it has to be replaced with a dental implant or a dental bridge to restore function to the missing tooth.
A night guard protects your teeth from the force exerted when you grind them. This reduces damage to your teeth and jawbone, preventing the need for additional procedures in the future. They are especially recommended for patients who clench their teeth even during the day.
At Marta Rudat, DDS, our dentist can provide you with a custom-fit night guard to protect your smile from damage caused by clenching and grinding. These guards are comfortable to wear and easy to care for, making them a great alternative to living with teeth damaged due to poor habits.
Why Wear a Nightguard?
A night guard is a thin, transparent piece of plastic that fits into the mouth and provides a cushion between the upper and lower teeth while you sleep. The guards are custom-made from impressions we take of your teeth so that they fit precisely. They provide physical protection and comfort while sleeping, especially when grinding or clenching teeth at night. Mouth guards are also helpful for those with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is caused when the airway is blocked during sleep, preventing the person from taking a full breath. This causes shallow breaths, eventually leading to daytime fatigue and other issues. Wearing a night guard can reduce the amount of snoring and waking up because the air pathway is not blocked.
The Benefits of Wearing a Night Guard
Issues that can be alleviated by wearing an oral appliance include:
- Headaches resulting from an overworked temporomandibular joint (TMJ)
- Tooth damage as a result of nighttime bruxism
- Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD), which can cause pain in the jaw, ear, neck, or face
- Disrupted sleep leads to daytime fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating at work or in school
- Jaw soreness after a night of teeth grinding or clenching
- Pain when eating or chewing
- Teeth chipping or cracking as a result of teeth grinding or clenching
- Gum recession
- Wear and tear on tooth enamel
If you snore or have sleep apnea and want more information about how a night guard can help you, visit Marta Rudat, DDS, at 1076 E 1st St STE D, Tustin, CA 92780, or call (714) 665-4200.