When it comes to protecting our teeth from damaging pressure of the clenching and grinding, nothing is more important than using a dental nightguard.
A dental nightguard is an oral appliance that is worn while sleeping. It is a custom-made device that is created by your dentist to fit snugly over your teeth and implants. They are typically made of a slightly flexible material and fit over the top or bottom teeth. Since they are custom-made, they are designed to fit your mouth perfectly and provide maximum comfort.
They work on a few very simple principals:
- by creating a platform between the upper and lower teeth to opens the bite slightly. This chewing platforms keep the TMJ/ mandibular hinge in more comfortable, resting position. When we are in resting position; the time we are not talking or eating, our teeth are slightly apart. The night guard creates that natural spacer between the teeth.
- by providing a cushion that absorbs the pressure from grinding and clenching.
- by creating a mechanical barrier on top of the teeth, which helps to reduce the wearing and tearing of the tooth structure.
Grinding and clenching of the teeth, also known as bruxism, is a common condition that is often caused by stress. It can lead to several serious issues, including enamel erosion, tooth sensitivity, fracture, and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder.
Nightguards can also help to reduce headaches and jaw pain caused by clenching. By providing a cushion and a spacer, the nightguards can reduce the amount of tension and strain on the jaw muscles, that aligns the jaw and relaxes the muscles, which in turn can help to reduce pain and discomfort.
Nightguards are especially beneficial for those who have dental implants. Dental implants are more susceptible to damage from grinding and clenching.
Our natural teeth have built in “shock absorbent” located between the root and the surrounding bone, made of different fibers. Its primary function is to keep the tooth connected to the bone but also has the ability to squish slightly when excessive force is applied and lower the teeth. Implants do not have this type of ligament as they are artificially placed inside the bone. So, when excessive force is applied the natural teeth slightly sink in but not the implants. That make the pressure way more damaging to the implant and the surrounding bone. Over time, this can lead to implant failure, which can require costly repairs or even replacement.
There are several different types of dental nightguards available, so it is important to talk to your dentist about which one is best for you. Your dentist will consider your individual needs, your bite, the amount and pattern of grinding that occurs during sleep and will be able to customize it accordingly.