Nightguards are retainer-like plastic forms that fit over the teeth and are worn only at night. They can be made of hard or soft plastic and be worn over the top or bottom teeth, or both. By putting a barrier between the teeth, nightguards can help prevent teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Thinking of trying a nightguard? Consider these pros and cons:
- Nightguards can prevent tooth damage. Over time teeth grinding and clenching causes the enamel to wear down which exposes more of the tooth. It can also cause teeth to flatten, chip or come loose. Nightguards serve as a protective layer between the teeth and are effective in keeping the tooth enamel intact.
- They can relieve jaw pain and headaches. Nearly 10 million Americans suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome which often causes jaw discomfort. Properly fitted nightguards move the teeth into proper alignment, which can alleviate jaw pain and stiffness. This, in turn, can reduce chronic headaches.
- Nightguards help you sleep better. Wearing a nightguard keeps your upper and lower teeth separated which ensures that your airway remains open while you sleep. This reduces snoring and helps you get a good night’s sleep. In addition, since nightguards prevent teeth clenching, your jaw will be more relaxed, and you’ll stay asleep longer.
- Nightguards can be uncomfortable. When using a nightguard, it’s important to find a good fit. An ill-fitted nightguard can rub against your gums or put pressure on your teeth. This may make the nightguard uncomfortable to wear.
- Bacteria can develop under nightguards. The moist environment of a nightguard makes it the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. It’s important to clean nightguards regularly to prevent the build-up of bacteria. Without thorough cleaning, the bacteria can cause infections, sore throats, colds, and more.
- Nightguards are a temporary fix. While nightguards are helpful in preventing grinding and clenching, they are not a permanent solution. For ongoing issues, consult a dentist to determine the best treatment for your dental issue.
If you are experiencing tooth or jaw pain, it’s important to address is before it becomes a bigger problem. Request an appointment with Vacendak Dentistry online or call us at 757-609-3510 to learn more about our services.