Dental Night Guards
Specifically designed to reduce the damage caused by grinding your teeth, dental night guards or bite guards can help with a range of dental issues. Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding is a common problem faced by many people.
Some people knowingly grind their teeth during the day, but bruxism affects many people while they sleep (sometimes they aren’t even aware the tooth grinding is happening).
At Tulsa Dental Center, we are familiar with the negative impact teeth grinding can have on a person’s oral health. Bruxism is capable of causing irreparable damage to the teeth’s enamel, and can also cause jaw pain, wear down your teeth, and lead to irritated gums. Teeth grinding can also impact the quality of sleep- your sleep as well as your partner’s.
Regardless of whether you are aware of your bruxism or not, our team can help. We can provide you with night guards and bite guards to help reduce the potential damage caused by your teeth grinding.
Frequently Asked Dental Night Guard Questions
What else can stop you from night-time teeth grinding?
There are some things you can do at home to help prevent or reduce teeth grinding at night. These can include:
- Avoid drinking caffeine and alcohol within four hours of bed time; both increase the likelihood you will grind your teeth during your sleep.
- Chewing objects during the day teach your jaw to clench and become tense. If chewing gum or a pen or any other item is a habit, stopping these habits can make a huge difference in preventing night-time teeth grinding.
- If your jaw is naturally tense, clenching is almost second nature. Learning to relax your jaw naturally throughout the day will help you avoid clenching or grinding your teeth at night.
If you believe you are grinding your teeth during the night, then we would encourage you to speak with your dentist, who will be able to assess if you could benefit from a night guard.
How can you tell if you're clenching your teeth at night?
There are many common symptoms of bruxism, including:
- A dull headache that starts at the temple
- Damage to the inside of your cheek
- Clenching or grinding that your spouse can hear during the night
- Fractures, loose, or chipped teeth from no obvious accident or incident
- Worn down tooth enamel
- Pain in the jaw or neck
- A tight or even locked jaw that will not fully open or close
- Disrupted sleep patterns
If you suffer from any of the above-listed symptoms or suspect you might be grinding your teeth at night, contact your dentist today.
How do I know if a dental night guard is right for me?
To find out if a dental night guard is the best solution for your unique situation, it’s a good idea to discuss your concerns directly with your dentist. Not only do they have experience treating bruxism, but they can also check your mouth, your bite, and your teeth for any possible damage caused by the grinding of your teeth.
People who clench their teeth during the daytime can often combat this problem with behavior modification techniques. This is not always possible at night, as you may be grinding your teeth subconsciously. Dental night guards can help tremendously in these situations.
Night-time bruxism versus daytime bruxism is a completely different scenario. When you grind your teeth at night, you typically aren’t aware of it, and it is not uncommon for large amounts of force to be placed on the jaw at night in these situations. This can result in waking up with pain in the jaw, tiredness, and even jaw dysfunction.
The Benefits of Dental Night Guards
While dental night guards may not be the right solution for every circumstance, there are many situations where dental night guards are highly beneficial. Some advantages you can expect from using a night guard include:
- Reduced headaches and jaw pain, as stress is reduced on the jaw
- Teeth protected from sustaining any further bruxism-related damage
- A better night’s sleep for both you and your partner
Sleeping in a dental night guard can take a bit of getting used to, but this typically doesn’t take more than a few weeks.
If your dentist thinks you could benefit from a dental night guard, rest assured you will likely feel much relief from many of the unpleasant side-effects of bruxism.
If you think you could benefit from a dental night guard, or are concerned you may be grinding your teeth, contact us to book an initial consultation with a member of our team today.
Hard vs. Soft Night Guards
Customized dental guards are tailor-made to fit your mouth, and come in two core types: hard or soft. Designed to treat the same issues, the two are quite a bit different:
Hard Night Guards
Made from a non-pliable, hard acrylic, this type of night guard will not feel fully flexible when placed in the mouth. It is typically recommended for those with severe jaw clenching or tooth grinding habits. Advantages of a hard guard include:
- Highly durable
- Suited for moderate to severe levels of bruxism
Typically more expensive than soft guards, hard guards are most effective at offering protection for your teeth.
Soft Night Guards
Made from a pliable, soft material, this type of guard is flexible and recommended for those who clench but do not grind their teeth. Advantages of choosing a soft guard include:
- Comfortable due to flexibility
- Less bulky
- Less obtrusive
- Less expensive
The life expectancy of soft guards is naturally less than hard guards, and they are not suitable for anyone with a moderate to high level of bruxism. Soft guards are the ideal solution for people who clench their teeth, not those who grind their teeth.
Your dentist can help determine which type of night guard is best for your needs. Whatever guard you choose, the additional protection provided will help improve your oral health and prevent further tooth damage from bruxism. Not only that, you will find yourself relieved of some of the pain you may have been experiencing in your teeth, jaws, ears, or head.
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