Night guards are custom fit and used to treat bruxism (teeth grinding) and clenching. Bruxism and clenching often happens when you sleep and can be caused by stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, abnormal bites, or teeth that are missing or crooked.
Symptoms of bruxism (teeth grinding) or clenching include any of the following:
- Sore jaw
- Painful, loose, chipped or fractured teeth
- Ear aches
Night guards are U shaped and sit on the biting surfaces of your teeth. They protect your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), prevent tooth damage, aid in stabilizing your bite, and help relax your chewing muscles. A night guard does not necessarily prevent you from bruxism or clenching habit but instead is meant to protect your teeth, joints, and muscles from the damage that occurs as a result of the habits.
Solutions to treating bruxism and clenching directly involve reducing the stress in your life through physical therapy, exercise, muscle relaxants, or counseling.
Having a custom fitted night guard fabricated is a quick, easy, and painless procedure involving impressions or a digital scan of your teeth. Although there are a variety of over the counter night guard options, their fit and effectiveness is not as good as a custom fitted guard.