Mouth guards are commonly used by people who participate in sports like boxing, football and basketball, but you may not know that many people wear dental night guards to protect their teeth. People who grind or clench their teeth and people suffering from sleep apnea may obtain relief from the condition by wearing a customized mouth guard at night.
This article focuses on the different ways a dental night guard can protect the teeth.
Night Guards for Bruxism
Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common issue. Everybody has ground their teeth at one point in time, but some people do it so much (mostly at night) that it hurts their teeth and causes jaw pain, headaches and temporomandibular joint disorders.
The alarming fact about bruxism is that most patients are not aware of the condition. The best way to protect the teeth from the grinding and clenching force is to wear a night guard while sleeping. The night guard is customized specifically for your teeth and is highly effective.
The most apparent benefit of the night guard is that it protects your tooth enamel. A soft rubber mouth guard, a hybrid laminate guard with a soft interior and hard exterior, or hard acrylic guards may be used depending on the level of grinding — from mild to moderate to heavy grinding.
The night guard offers a layer between the teeth on the opposite jaws, preventing them from grinding together and destroying the tooth enamel. If the night guard deteriorates, usually within between one to five years, you can just go for a replacement — whereas replacing the teeth is not that easy.
Exposing your enamel to the constant grinding force of bruxism can degrade the enamel and dentin to the point of exposing the pulp containing the nerves and blood vessels of your teeth. This will not only adversely affect the strength of the teeth but also cause intense pain. Even if you cannot stop teeth grinding and clenching, wearing a dental night guard can prevent damages to the teeth and expensive dental procedures.
Night Guards for Sleep Apnea
Night guards can also give you substantial relief from sleep apnea. Patients with sleep apnea often snore frequently, wake up with a dry or sore throat, feel fatigued throughout the day, and may urinate several times throughout the night. Sleep apnea interrupts airflow, causing breathing pauses several times throughout the night and may have potentially harmful side effects.
Aside from the CPAP devices usually prescribed for treating the condition, the FDA recognizes night guards as an effective way of managing sleep apnea. The night guard accomplishes this by slightly shifting your bite, preventing teeth from hitting against each other and enhancing airflow and regular breathing.
Dental night guards will not only protect your teeth but will also cushion your jaws to relieve facial muscle ache. Consult your dentist about getting a custom night guard for your mouth.