While you've probably heard night mouthguards discussed somewhere along the line, you may not know what they're used for or if and how they could benefit you. At Cornelius Dental Clinic we'd like to help you understand this dental therapy and how it might benefit you.
What Night Mouthguards Are
Night mouthguards are often referred to by numerous names including dental, occlusal, and bite guards. Regardless of what you want to call it, the simple truth behind a mouthguard is that it's a preventative measure that we use to help you stop grinding your teeth while you're sleeping at night. You don't want to grind your teeth at night because this unnatural force places undue force on your jaw at night. Of course, it will also wear down the enamel on your teeth, which is also problematic for many other reasons.
A nighttime mouthguard consists of two layers. At the top there's a soft layer that cushions your teeth, helping ease any discomfort you may be feeling. There's also another layer that does the job of keeping you from grinding your teeth - something that could cause them harm. This is done by absorbing the force that happens when you grind your teeth. It will then disperse this pressure elsewhere. All this works together to help stop you from causing further damage to your teeth.
Who Should get a Mouthguard?
If you've been told that you grind your teeth or you've been diagnosed with bruxism, we'll prescribe a mouthguard for you to wear at night. This is something we can tell about your oral health by looking at your mouth when you come in for an exam every six months (twice yearly). During this exam, it's our job to look for teeth that are flat, chipped, fractured, or loose. Of course, you may also already know that you grind your teeth before you come to our office for a visit. This is because you may be experiencing things like headaches, facial pain, earaches, and your jaw may be painful or stiff.
Regardless of what symptoms you may be experiencing, your night mouthguard should stop them from occurring anymore. With a mouthguard, there will now be a barrier between your teeth that will stop you from clenching your jaw muscles together so hard. This is a habit that you'll need help breaking - one that you should break as soon as possible because your jaw needs some rest, just like the rest of your body does.
How Long Your Mouthguard Will Last
Typically, we'll only prescribe a mouthguard for your upper teeth. This is done for comfort's sake. There are some circumstances in which we will prescribe a mouthguard for your lower teeth too though. Regardless of whether you're prescribed a mouthguard for your upper teeth or one for your bottom teeth too, the lifespan of your mouthguard depends on how sever your teeth grinding habit is. For most people, mouthguards do last 5-10 years. Of course, this is one of the many things you can discuss with us when you call Cornelius Dental Clinic at (503) 359-0339.