• Nightguard Needed!

  • I am seeing more and more patients in my practice who need protection for their teeth at night. When I do my research, I see that I am definitely not alone. Evidently, 40 million Americans have this bad habit, and of those, 10% do it so energetically that they are damaging their teeth!

    It should come as no surprise to anyone that we live in a stressful world. At this point, we know that even the air we breathe and the water we drink may not be super good for us. Life is rushing by at a crazy pace, and it’s hard to keep up. Our brains try to sort through our crazy days during sleep time, and for the teeth gnashers among us, we just keep on stressing as we sleep.

    Our jaws can produce amazing amounts of force. This is a good thing, as we need to eat to survive. When we are not conscious of it, that force can be even more amazing. We can literally break our own teeth by grinding them. I have seen it almost on a weekly basis for my 20+ years in practice. The nightguard produces a sort of biofeedback mechanism, and we do not grind as hard on the nightguard as we would on our own natural teeth.

    The nightguard your dentist makes you is not equal to the ones you buy at your local market. The nightguard your dentist fabricates is made of very solid acrylic, and fits precisely to your teeth, so that it cannot be dislodged by grinding. The kind I make is in partnership with Glidewell. It’s hard on the outside and soft on the inside, so it’s very comfortable and strong. Although I have seen a select few who are able to eventually break or grind through their nightguard, this is surely not the norm. A nightguard can last for many years, and is worth the cost, if it saves you from just one crown.

    I can tell when my patients grind their teeth. The canine teeth are no longer pointy. There are ‘mesas’ on molars and premolars where the upper and lower teeth have repeatedly gnashed against one another. There are wedges at the gumline, where the teeth actually do flex upon chewing, and microscopic bits of tooth structure fracture out! We routinely take intraoral photos of ‘craze lines’ and bonafide cracks in teeth, often caused by our nighttime habit.

    With all this being said, some folks are simply not able to sleep with something in their mouth. Oftentimes I recommend trying an over the counter nightguard to check and see if it will work for a patient. The vast majority of us can sleep with one. When it comes down to wearing a nightguard or waking up with a broken tooth, I think we can all agree which one is preferable.

    If you wake up with a tired jaw, or if individual teeth seems to sometimes be temporarily sore with no rhyme or reason, or if your dentist recommends one, please consider investing in a nightguard! It’s like an insurance policy for those teeth!