Is It Time For a Night Guard?

If you’re considering this question, you might already have your answer. However, let’s dive into some common signs that it’s time to add one more step to your nightly routine — that is, putting in a night guard before sleep!

What is a night guard?

A night guard is a piece that is placed over your teeth while you sleep to eliminate contact between the teeth of your upper and bottom jaws. It’s a way to protect your teeth from grinding against themselves as your jawbone moves in your sleep.

Teeth grinding is more officially known as bruxism and affects around 10% of adults and 15% of children. Ironically enough, many people don’t even realize that they suffer from bruxism because it commonly occurs in your sleep.

Occasional teeth grinding does not usually cause harm. However, if it occurs on a regular basis, you’re more susceptible to damaging your teeth and other oral health complications. Keep reading to learn about more warning signs and if a night guard is the next best step for you.

What are the tell-tale signs that you’ve been grinding your teeth?

  1. Mysterious tooth damage — Not only potentially to your regular tooth enamel, but also restorations like crowns or fillings
  2. Tension headaches — Especially when you’re just waking up, as bruxism typically occurs overnight
  3. Clicking or popping sounds when you open and close your mouth
  4. Overall tooth pain or soreness in your jaw
  5. Difficulty chewing — Does it feel like your upper and lower jaw don’t fit well together anymore?
  6. The inside of your cheek feeling damaged, as if it has been chewed on

What negative effects can grinding have on your teeth?

As we mentioned before, one of the most common outcomes of bruxism is tooth damage. Grinding your teeth can first result in a loose tooth, leading to a fractured tooth and eventually complete tooth loss.

Chronic grinding can also wear your teeth down to stumps. Worn teeth lead to stress cracks, sensitivity, gum recession, bone loss, an aged appearance, and more. As a result, it’s likely that you’ll need further treatment services, including but not limited to bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, and partial or even complete dentures.

Severe grinding not only affects your teeth, but your jaw as well. You might find yourself suffering from TMD/TMJ or potentially worsening your symptoms if you already suffer from these conditions. Depending on the severity of your condition, this can change the appearance of your face and continuously affect your sleeping patterns and your life in general.

If you regularly experience these symptoms, then it’s definitely time to take a trip to the dentist and discuss getting a night guard. With all things considered, a night guard is just a little investment to protect both your teeth and overall health. Not proactively seeking treatment can lead to costly restorative or cosmetic dental treatments.

Stop the wear process of your teeth from grinding and clenching with a custom-made night guard brought to you by Smiles by Stevens, one of the best cosmetic dentists located in Lancaster, PA. Contact us to create a confident smile today!