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Night guard — a small appliance that can protect teeth from the damage occurred during sleep when our jaws get to move wherever they want and teeth bear the brunt of unwanted forces. Often we feel like night guards don’t get the respect they deserve. Frequently, they’re thrown on night tables or into drawers, only to be taken out and dusted-off months later when the owner remembers their dental appointment in two weeks. Worse, sometimes they’re left for the dog to munch on because keeping it safe just seems like way too much work for the thing. But the reality is that a night guard can be vital to the health of teeth, gums, and jaw joints, and when worn as specified by a dentist, it can help keep the entire dental system healthy.
That’s a fair question, and many of our patients do wonder what’s the point and what will happen if they don’t? The majority of people prescribed a night guard are supposed to wear them because they grind or clench their teeth at night. Bruxism is the medical term for clenching and grinding, and it’s really come. Thousands (maybe even tens of thousands) of Calgarians are grinding their teeth every night. Sometimes the grinding is due to an imbalanced bite, but often it’s the result of emotional stress. A night guard doesn’t stop the action of bruxism but it does act as a cushion to protect teeth from sustaining damage from the incredible forces exerted during episodes of grinding and clenching. From chipping teeth and breaking crowns to creating gum inflammation, recession, and sore facial muscles, clenching and grinding isn’t something to ignore! Overtime this habit can cause significant damage to the mouth. Wearing a night guard can provide protection and also creates more stability in mouths that have bite issues.
A well-made night guard is very comfortable and can even aid in a person’s quality of sleep. Usually worn on top teeth a night guard is a custom-made appliance that is designed from a patient’s teeth impression. Varying in rigidity and thickness, a night guard fits over the biting surface of teeth and protects this surface during times of clenching and grinding. This protection saves the tooth structure from unnatural wearing and helps to prevent heightened tooth sensitivity, flat teeth, and chipping. Protecting teeth from grinding also helps prevent the nerves of teeth from becoming inflamed and traumatized by the pressure exerted. Finally, wearing a night guard can help prevent teeth from serious damage and give patients a better quality of sleep.
Here at Centennial Smiles, our team loves their beauty sleep, and we want to make sure all our patients get the best quality of sleep possible. If your Calgary dentist has told you that you grind your teeth at night, a mouth guard is a great way to help prevent damage and to sleep better. The dentists at Centennial Smiles would be happy to answer any questions you have about grinding and explain the numerous benefits of a night guard. Call us today at (587) 317‑7959.