Night guards are effective in controlling the damage that is done by bruxism, or the grinding and clenching of the teeth. As the name suggests, they are like bite pads which are worn at night to protect the upper from teeth grinding against the lower ones.
Bruxism is bad for a number of reasons. Not only can the sound be unpleasant for people sleeping in the same room as the person who grinds his teeth, but it also can wear teeth down, and damage the TMJ, or temporal mandibular joints.
Made From Plastic
Typically, night guards are made from plastic materials, put together either in a laboratory or in a dentist's office. This can be done by taking impressions of the teeth and then having them manufactured, or they can be made directly in the mouth by the dentist.
If an impression is made, then afterwards the night guard is fabricated in a laboratory. Pre-formed night guards would also be fitted by the dentist in the office without the need of lab work, which reduces the cost. The key to getting a good one is that it needs to fit perfectly, as one that is not perfectly snug will not do you any help at all.
Importance of Night Guards
Bruxism may seem like nothing more than an irritation, but controlling bruxism by using a night guard is more important than you might think. Not only can your teeth chip and break due to excessive tooth grinding, but you can also have headaches and jaw pain. Severe bruxism can even require surgery to correct the problem.
If you suffer from bruxism, it's important to see your dentist and form a plan of action. Custom-made night guards, fitted by your dentist, are usually the best option, although not the least expensive one.
The information in the article is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your healthcare provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with an appropriate healthcare provider.
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Dr Phillip Greer