Many people grind their teeth subconsciously in their sleep.
Medically referred to as bruxism, this condition affects many people, in oblivion; leaving the only chance of recognizing this condition to the signs of worn out teeth, which is dangerous.
Teeth grinding takes place when the upper jaw and the lower jaw move back and forth with a great force that tends to flatten out the teeth at the point of contact over time.
This wear and tear eventually leads to sensitive teeth, due to the complete wearing out of the enamel. This exposes the nerve endings of the tooth to its external environment. As a matter of fact, bruxism has been named as one of the major causes of teeth problems in the world.
What is the purpose of a night guard?
To combat this condition, night guards were invented.
So, what are night guards? A night guard is a mouthpiece that is worn on the teeth to offer protection to the enamel during a grinding session, whether it’s happening subconsciously or not.
These night guards are usually not standard in size due to the fact that there are different degrees of bruxism, and different mouth types.
Night guards are not the sexiest things on earth – it is therefore not a surprise that so many people find the idea of using a night guard off-putting.
But if you don’t want to deal with the pain of losing a tooth or expensive teeth restorations and repairs, a dental night guard is the greatest solution.
And does a night guard stop teeth grinding?
Misconceptions in the medical world are unavoidable. Getting to know what night guards are and why one has to wear a night guard is not enough to separate fact from fiction.
In this case, the misconception is that night guards stop the teeth from grinding. The truth of the matter is that bruxism is a natural occurrence whose actual cause is yet to be established. However, several theories regarding the cause of bruxism have been raised, one of them being stress.
The lack of an established cause has relatively led to the lack of an established cure. There is no viable cure for bruxism. Treatments such as biofeedback hypnosis and Botox have been used in combating Bruxism, but the most effective treatment so far is the use of a night guard.
The role of a dental night guard is essential in prevention
A night guard protects the teeth from damage due to grinding rather than stopping the grinding itself. Since tooth grinding is natural and quite unavoidable during sleep, a night guard covers the enamel, protecting it with a layer of special material. This protects the enamel from damage during tooth grinding.
With this in mind, it is key to note that bruxism is a condition better diagnosed by a dentist.
However, there are some pointers that might help you know whether you have the condition: waking up with pain in the facial region and teeth, and or cracks and fractures on the teeth.
If you have these signs when you wake up, it is a good idea to visit your dentist as soon as possible to avoid permanently damaging your teeth. The dentist will recommend a night guard for you that will effectively protect your teeth from the grinding force of your jaw movement as you sleep.