What do dental night guards do?
A dental night guard is designed to protect your teeth from the wearing down associated with the teeth grinding and clenching many people do in their sleep. Habitual teeth grinding and clenching of the teeth is part of a common condition called bruxism. Over time, this habit can contribute to reduction of the teeth caused by grinding, and soreness of the jaw caused by clenching. Night guards are made of plastic, and are designed to fit over some or all of the upper or lower teeth. The night guard protects your teeth from the abrasive action of grinding, and reduces muscle strain by allowing the upper and lower jaw to move and interact more easily while you sleep.
What kind of result can I expect?
The goal in using a night guard is to relieve the symptoms of bruxism through a series of techniques proven to help do just that. Treatment goals include constraining the bruxing pattern to avoid damage to the temporomandibular joints, as well as stabilizing the occlusion by minimizing gradual changes to the positions of the teeth. Night guards also prevent tooth damage, and allow your dentist to better help you by revealing the extent and patterns of bruxism through examination of the markings on the splint’s surface.
How long should I use my night guard?
Night guards are usually worn while you sleep, on a long term basis.