Protect Your Smile: Exploring the Benefits of Night Guards

A restful night’s sleep is essential for overall well-being, but for some, nighttime teeth grinding or clenching, also known as bruxism, can pose a significant threat to sleep and to your oral health. Bruxism can cause significant damage to your teeth and can result in flattened, cracked, or chipped teeth. All causes of concern when you visit your dentist. Fortunately, night guards offer a simple yet effective solution to safeguard your smile while you sleep.

What Are Night Guards?

Night Guards, also known as occlusal guards, are custom made oral appliances designed to be worn during sleep. They are crafted from soft and durable medical grade materials. They are custom-fit devices that are prescribed by dentists to alleviate symptoms associated with teeth grinding and clenching, such as tooth wear, jaw pain, headaches, and jaw tension. Occlusal guards create a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth, preventing contact when you involuntarily clench your teeth.

To create your custom device, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth. Most dental offices can now take an oral scan of your mouth, rather than a traditional impression with putty. This can make the process faster and more comfortable for patients. Once an impression or scan is taken, your dentist can create a guard that is custom to your smile.

Benefits of a Night Guard

  1. Prevents Tooth Wear and Damage: The primary benefit of an occlusal guard is their ability to protect your teeth from excessive wear and damage caused by bruxism. Clenching and grinding your teeth exerts a significant force on your teeth, leading to enamel erosion, fractures, and tooth loss over time. Night Guards help prevent this as they cushion the teeth and help distribute pressure evenly.
  2. Alleviates Jaw Pain: Bruxism can place stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the hinge connecting your jaw to your skull. This can create jaw pain, stiffness, clicking, or popping noises. Since night guards cushion your teeth and distribute stress and pressure evenly, they can prevent excessive strain on the joint and alleviate discomfort.
  3. Reduces headaches and facial pain: Chronic teeth grinding and clenching can cause tension headaches and facial pain. Night guards minimalize tension in the jaw and face, thereby alleviating headaches and discomfort.
  4. Improves Sleep Quality: Bruxism can disrupt your sleep pattern, leaving you fatigued and tired during the day. Night Guards allow for a more peaceful and uninterrupted sleep, by reducing muscle activity.
  5. Preserves Dental Work: For those with dental restorations such a crowns, bridges, or veneers, night guards can preserve the longevity of these investments. They can also prevent you from having to need additional work due to the wear your teeth experience when you clench and grind your teeth. Night guards provide an additional layer of protection, shielding your teeth from possible damage.

Night guards offer a multitude of benefits for those suffering from bruxism. If you experience symptoms of teeth clenching and grinding, such as jaw pain or headaches, call us at 813-356-0555. We can help you determine whether a night guard is the right solution for you.

We provide dental care for Tampa & the surrounding area. We specialize in general and cosmetic dentistry. Our services include night guards, teeth cleanings, veneers and more.