Ask the Dentist – Why Do I Need A Night Guard?
-by Dr Shruthi Dayal
One of the effects of the pandemic seen in dentistry is an increase in bruxism or grinding and clenching teeth. Over time bruxism can cause enamel loss and weakened tooth structure leading to decay, fractures, and sensitivity. It can also cause muscle pain, headaches, trouble sleeping, jaw tension and TMJ problems.
Although while awake you can consciously interfere with this habit when you sleep you may still be clenching or grinding. If you wake up with any of the above symptoms it is recommended that you use a night guard to help prevent future damage to the teeth and treat the symptoms related to bruxism.
A night guard (bruxguard) is a convenient and non-invasive option to treat the symptoms of bruxism, which is why it is usually the first form of treatment. A custom bruxguard is meant to shift the jaw and teeth into proper alignment and allow the muscles to be at rest. It is important not to ignore clenching and grinding habits as it can lead to dental problems requiring more invasive and expensive treatments.