• All You Need to Know About Night Guards

    Every morning thousands of Australians wake up with a sore jaw or aching teeth. If that’s you, then chances are you grind or clench your teeth when you sleep.

    Teeth grinding (when you bite down on your teeth and rub them back and forth against each other, sometimes making a squealing noise like running nails down a blackboard) is an unconscious behaviour usually associated with stress that causes wearing down of teeth over time.

    Clenching your teeth (when you bite down hard with force locking your upper and lower teeth closed) is another unconscious behaviour that can happen any time. Whether you’re asleep or awake. People often clench their teeth when they get angry or frustrated.

    Both behaviours have long-term negative effects on your teeth and are something that can be minimised or prevented easily by wearing a nightguard when you sleep.

    So what is a night guard? And why should I wear one?

    As the name suggests, a night guard (also known as an occlusal splint), is a device you wear at night when you sleep, to protect your teeth, chewing muscles and jaw joints when you grind or clench your teeth together during sleep time.

    It is mostly made to be worn over your top row of teeth but can be tailored to be worn over the bottom row if recommended.

    When worn, it prevents your teeth from contacting one another, so that your teeth are protected from the grinding/clenching damaging pressures so that you won’t feel pain in the morning and your chewing muscles are more relaxed. This takes pressure of your jaw joints to assist in keeping them relaxed.

    If you grind or clench your teeth, you may experience sensitive teeth, jaw pain, headaches, ear aches, or other pain when you wake up in the mornings.

    If you continue to grind your unprotected teeth, you may chip, crack, fracture, loosen, or lose some of your teeth if they split. Or, the grinding could cause your teeth to wear down, sometimes to stumps. These dental issues can lead to more invasive and expensive treatment like root canals, crowns, bridges, implants, or full or partial dentures.

    A night guard is an excellent and quick preventative solution for teeth grinding. While you could undergo other forms of treatment like stress reduction and prevention, diet changes, and teeth straightening, a night guard provides a long-term and cost-effective treatment.

    What are the benefits of wearing a nightguard?

    A Night Guard Creates Less Tension, Less Pain

    Night guards are comfortable, practical, and lightweight. Your Dentist will design your night guard specifically for your teeth in a way that reduces the stress placed on your jaw joints and muscles. This effectively reduces wear and tear and ensures that your teeth are protected. Sleeping with a night guard reduces the pain you feel in your mouth, jaw, or head when you wake up.

    A Night Guard Prevents Tooth Damage

    The prevention of tooth damage is one of the more critical benefits of wearing a night guard. It’s the main reason why your Dentist will recommend one for you if you clench or grind your teeth at night.

    The nightly unconscious grinding and clenching of the teeth and jaw can lead to chipped teeth, damaged fillings, and excessive wear of the teeth and of the enamel.

    Wearing a night guard will safeguard your comfort and the quality of your smile.

    Night Guards Often Reducing Stress and Tension Headaches

    Headaches are just one of the many discomforts that come with TMD (temporomandibular disorders).

    Night guards make a significant difference when it comes to these everyday aches and pains. Many people are surprised that after using their night guard consistently they experience fewer or no temporal headaches or associated neck pain.

    Wear a Night Guard For a Better Night Sleep

    By wearing a night guard as you sleep, you can improve how you sleep.

    Grinding and clenching cause you to tense up the muscles in your jaw. This motion puts a great deal of force on those muscles. As your muscles tighten and use consistent force, you tend to experience more stressful and restless sleep.

    A night guard reduces the pressure and helps your muscles relax. When your muscles are more relaxed, you can sleep much better.

    How do I look after a nightguard?

    It is important to clean and store your nightguard correctly. Talk to your Dentist to discover how to properly clean and care for your night guard.

    View our Night Guard Instructions Patient Fact Sheet here

    If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, talk to your Dentist about a nightguard for you. Call the team at Dental Care Professionals now to schedule an appointment, call 8232 3280.

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