5 Signs You Might Need A Night Guard

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If you grind or clench your teeth while you sleep, you may be damaging your teeth or causing other health problems. The experienced team at Thrive Dental Studio in Portland, Maine, can examine your mouth and create a custom dental night guard for your protection. Learn more about night guards, their benefits, and five signs that you might need one.

What is the Purpose of a Night Guard?

A night guard is a removable device that covers your teeth and gums while you sleep. It is designed to protect your teeth from the damaging effects of bruxism, which is unconscious grinding and clenching of teeth. It also helps people with a temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ disorder, a fairly common condition when the jaw joint does not open and close as smoothly as it is supposed to. A custom night guard can help keep your jaw in the right position while you sleep.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a condition that occurs when a person grinds or clenches their teeth. It’s estimated that up to 10% of adults and 15% of children have bruxism. No one knows what causes bruxism, but some lifestyle factors could make you more likely to experience it, including stress, smoking, and taking certain medications. 

What is TMD?

Your temporomandibular joints connect both sides of your jaw to your skull, allowing your lower jaw to move up, down, and side to side. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) develops when there is a problem with these joints or the muscles surrounding them. While it’s often unclear what causes TMD disorders, bruxism may contribute. The best way to treat TMD is to address the source of the problem. If bruxism is the cause of your TMD, wearing a dental night guard may help manage your symptoms.

What are the Benefits of Having a Night Guard?

A custom-made night guard from Thrive Dental Studio is designed to fit your mouth exactly. Most people find it comfortable. When you use it regularly, it provides a number of benefits, including:

  • Prevention of teeth grinding and severe headache
  • Reduces pressure when you clench your jaw
  • It keeps tooth enamel from being worn away
  • Less pain in your teeth, jaw, and head
  • Reduces stress during sleep
  • It helps you get better sleep

Why Does My Dentist Want Me to Wear a Night Guard?

If your dentist recommended wearing a night guard, it is probably because they noticed the signs of teeth grinding or jaw clenching. These are the signs that you might benefit from a custom dental guard:

  • Frequent Headaches: If you often wake up with a headache, it could be a sign that you have bruxism. When your teeth clench together or rub against each other, they apply too much pressure to your facial structure, creating a headache. 
  • Damage to Your Teeth: Grinding forces the wear down of enamel on your teeth, leaving them less protected from harmful bacteria. Your teeth can also chip or fracture due to bruxism.
  • Sleeping Problems: People who grind or clench their teeth often experience disrupted sleep. The stress you put on their teeth and jaw can cause them to wake up in the middle of the night. 
  • Facial Pain: If you wake up with soreness in your jaw, that is an indication that you have been clenching your teeth or have a TMJ disorder. You may also notice that your jaw joint pops or clicks when you open and close your mouth or have difficulty chewing. If this happens, you should let your dentist know about it.
  • Sensitive Teeth: Over time, excessive grinding and clenching wear down the enamel on your teeth, exposing the inner tooth and nerves. This makes your teeth more sensitive, especially to hot and cold items. In more severe cases of bruxism, you could experience bleeding or swelling of your gums, making your teeth sensitive.

If you notice any of these symptoms, talk to your dentist about it. A custom night guard can relieve the symptoms for a healthier mouth and better sleep.

How Does a Night Guard Help?

Night guards are dental appliances that can reduce friction when you grind your teeth together. This is important to prevent further damage and enamel from wearing away over time. Likewise, a custom nightguard can alleviate some pressure your upper and lower teeth grinding, and clenching can produce. Managing the pressure caused by bruxism can help relieve the jaw, ear, and head pain that can develop from long-term teeth grinding. At Thrive Dental Studio, we make custom mouth guards that will fit the shape and size of your mouth perfectly, ensuring that you sleep comfortably without having to worry about it shifting or falling out. 

Schedule Your Next Appointment Today

At Thrive Dental Studio, our dental professionals provide personalized service that truly benefits your oral health. Our friendly team is here if you want to discuss treatment options, tooth pain, relaxation techniques for anxiety, night guards, or any other dental work you might need. Contact us today at our Portland, Maine office, and we’ll set up an appointment!

Dan Figueiredo, DMD

Dan Figueiredo, DMD

Dr. Dan Figueiredo, a graduate of Tufts University School of Dentistry, blends his artistic talent and scientific acumen to provide high-quality, patient-centric dental care in Maine. Recognized for his transparent communication and his commitment to continuous learning, he stays abreast of the latest dental advancements through regular attendance at esteemed dental institutes and continuous education courses. Beyond his practice, he passionately embraces Maine’s outdoor heritage, participating in competitive trap and sporting clays shooting, engaging in seasonal outdoor activities, and eagerly anticipating his next international travel adventure.