Can Night Guards Ruin Your Teeth

Almost everyone grinds and grits their teeth on occasion. The medical term is bruxism. It usually doesn't hurt if this happens every now and then, but if you grind your teeth regularly, bruxism can damage your teeth (excessive wear, fracture, pain, tenderness, shaking, or loss) and cause tooth loss. Other health problems, such as worsening TMD (temporomandibular disorder) and even changing the shape of your face can also occur. Bruxism can occur while you are sleeping or while you are awake. If you are diagnosed with this condition, one of the first things your dentist might recommend is to wear a night guard.

The night guard, which is actually a hard plastic splint, is made from an impression of the teeth. It helps absorb, in part, the stresses of the forces of bruxism (teeth grinding) or teeth clenching. The night guard helps prevent the upper teeth from coming into contact with the lower teeth.

The night guard is custom-made in the dental office from dental impressions previously taken from the patient. These impressions are used, first, to make models of the teeth and, second, to make the guard itself. There is a variety of bite plate models available to suit the dentition, bite and the shape of your mouth, jaw, and teeth. It is possible to make a plastic splint that will be worn on the upper or lower teeth and whose contacts will be precisely adjusted to promote rest of the muscles. This solution is often used for night wear only.

The night guard acts as a preventive measure only. It does not cure the cause of your condition, whether it is bruxism or an ATM disorder. However, over time you may lose the grinding reflex, and the damage from the clenching should decrease significantly. Depending on your case, your dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment to correct dental malpositions and promote better jaw position.

Night guards are completely safe for your teeth, and in fact, for reasons stated, they actually help with tooth and oral health, as they prevent the wearing of your tooth enamel.

It is perfectly normal to feel some discomfort when you start to wear the night guard. If the discomfort does not decrease and it is unbearable, don't hesitate to make an appointment with your dentist. You will also have a follow-up at the clinic after you are given your guard. During these appointments, your dentist will make sure everything is going well. You will be asked if your symptoms are improving, and your night guard may be adjusted as needed.

The risks of not intervening

Wearing the night guard may not cure the problem, but it prevents a lot of ailments and annoyances. In addition to relieving your headaches, necks and ears, the guard soothes jaw and joint pain. It also relieves feelings of stiffness in the cheeks. This is all simply because it allows the jaw muscles to relax and keeps your teeth from touching each other.

If you suffer from bruxism and do not intervene, you could face different problems. Teeth grinding can cause premature wear of the enamel and dentin of the teeth. This wear increases the risk of sensitivity to cold, tooth fracture, and even dental nerve damage or necrosis. Enamel loss can also occur where the teeth touch to reveal the yellowish dentin. If you have dentures, crowns, or fillings, they may wear out or break.

Do Night Guards Work