A nightguard is a thin, removable device custom-made to fit over the top of the teeth to prevent the upper and lower jaw from coming together while you sleep. At Restoration Smiles: Adult & Pediatric Dentistry, we provide these nightguards to be worn to treat temporomandibular joint disorders and to prevent the clenching or grinding of the teeth at night. Wearing a nightguard can also relieve tension in the muscles responsible for opening the jaw and moving the lower jaw forward. This can make them more comfortable as well.
Each nightguard is custom-made to fit your teeth and mouth to ensure it fits comfortably. They are made with hard plastic on the outside and soft material on the inside for comfort. They can be clear or colored to blend in with your teeth so that they are not as noticeable while you wear them. Many patients can sleep more peacefully while wearing them because they are lightweight and comfortable.
How Are Nightguards Made?
Dentists make all custom nightguards in the office by taking impressions of a patient’s teeth using a flexible plastic-like material. The mold of your teeth is then sent to a company that uses the mold to create a model of your nightguard. This material is strong, resilient, and will last long. However, if you grind your teeth at night or clench your mouth during the day, you may need to replace your custom nightguard every few years.
The Benefits of Nightguards
A custom-made dental appliance like a nightguard can treat TMJ disorders, bruxism, and sleep apnea symptoms. It can also prevent teeth from grinding against each other at night and restore normal jaw alignment. A typical night guard is made from soft plastic that fits comfortably over the teeth and keeps them apart. This prevents the destructive forces of clenching and grinding on tooth enamel, leading to cracks, chips, and tooth loss.
Patients who grind their teeth or clench their jaws also often experience headaches in the morning due to muscle strain caused by nighttime clenching and grinding. In addition to protecting your teeth from damage, a nightguard can relieve tension and stress in the head and neck muscles while sleeping. This can help reduce instances of morning headaches as well as neck and back pain.
The benefits of a nightguard are not limited to treating and preventing symptoms of TMJ disorders. It can also eliminate snoring by keeping the jaw in its proper position, keeping the airways open. Many patients who snore also have sleep apnea, which can be life-threatening. Treating both conditions simultaneously can help patients sleep better and feel rested the following day.
To learn more about how a nightguard can help keep your smile healthy, visit Restoration Smiles: Adult & Pediatric Dentistry at 2 Coolidge St Suite 202, Hudson, MA 01749, or call (508) 658-0661.