Many people clench their jaw or grind their teeth without realizing the harmful effects. Excessive pressure from clenching and teeth grinding (bruxism) can chip your teeth and cause Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder or other problems. Splendid Dental Woodlands provides patients with custom-fitted nightguards to prevent tooth damage and treat TMJ symptoms. Safeguarding your mouth may also prevent costly treatments such as dental fillings, dental crowns, or teeth replacement with dental implants.
What are Nightguards?
Nightguards, also called dental guards or mouth guards, are oral appliances designed to alleviate grinding your teeth’ potential effects. The appliance is typically made from durable clear plastic called acrylic resin and may be soft or hard. Your dentist will advise you to wear it over your teeth’ upper front row to prevent them from touching the lower front teeth during sleep. A dental guard for lower teeth is prescribed in cases of severe teeth grinding. In addition to being a protective barrier, mouthguards also cushion the jaw muscles.
Benefits of Night Guards for Bruxism
Some people tend to grind their teeth when they are angry, stressed, or anxious (daytime bruxism) or sleeping (nighttime bruxism). It is mostly an unconscious and involuntary habit that is harmful to your oral health. Your dentist may recommend a nightguard to protect your teeth in addition to any doctor-prescribed treatments such as medication or therapy for anxiety.
While night guards for bruxism do not stop the habit, consistently using one helps prevent damaged fillings, chipped or loose teeth, and excessive wear of the teeth’s enamel. You may sleep better and experience improvement in bruxism symptoms such as:
- Tooth sensitivity or pain
- Cheek bites
- Receding gums
- Fatigue due to sleep disruption throughout the night
- Face pain from tight or sore jaw muscles
- Headaches around your temple
Benefits of Nightguards for TMJ
There are two jaw joints called the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) on either side of your mouth. They work together to allow jaw functions such as opening and closing the mouth. Long-term (chronic) teeth grinding can cause joint dysfunction, leading to TMJ and symptoms such as jaw pain, clicking or popping of the jaw, or locked jaw. Other causes include inflammation and jaw injury. Nightguards for TMJ position your jaws correctly and help the muscles relax during sleep. Sleeping with a nightguard may effectively improve other TMJ symptoms, including:
- Face pain or soreness
- Neck and shoulder pain
- Pain that feels like an earache
- A sensation of ringing in the ear
- Difficulty chewing or speaking
- Pain while chewing or speaking
Customized Nightguards from Splendid Dental Woodlands
Maybe it is time to talk with our general dentist at Lovett Dental about night guards for bruxism or night guards for TMJ if you are experiencing the symptoms of one or both of these conditions.
The process of getting a comfortable, custom-fit nightguard typically takes two appointments. At your first visit, we will do an oral exam and take dental X-rays, which will tailor your treatment plan. We will use impressions of your teeth and jaw to make a model, which we will send to the lab technicians for them to fabricate a nightguard. At your next appointment, we will ensure the oral device fits well and show you how to use and clean it.
Please ensure you follow the directions for use and care given to you by our dentist. Patients usually notice an improvement in their symptoms and overall health after consistent use of the appliance as directed. Some even consider dental braces as a treatment for TMJ.
Splendid Dental Woodlands Can Help Safeguard Your Smile
Getting custom nightguards for bruxism and TMJ starts with a free consultation at Splendid Dental Woodlands. We may also recommend professional teeth cleaning if you are due for your 6-month dental checkup. Call us at 832.365.4190 to schedule an appointment.