Do you grind and clench your teeth at night, but you are unable to control it because you are sleeping? If so, you may be considering a night guard to help prevent your teeth from becoming damaged. Here are some things to know about night guards so that you can make a more informed decision about them.
What Damage Does A Night Guard Prevent?
If you thought that grinding and clenching your teeth at night was harmless, think again. These habits can cause your teeth to fracture, loosen, or even fall out completely over time. People that have a chronic problem with grinding and clenching can potentially wear their teeth down significantly, which requires bridges, root canals, crowns, and partial dentures to repair. If you have TMJ, you can notice that you experience more pain in your jaw as well.
Do Night Guards Come Off Easily?
A common concern about night guards is that they will fall off your teeth in the middle of the night and potentially be a choking hazard. A custom-fitted night guard is not going to pop off your teeth without warning. In fact, it usually takes two hands to remove the night guard from your teeth. There are over-the-counter night guard solutions that are very bulky and loose, which will not be comfortable for sleeping with at night.
Are Night Guards Expensive?
If you do not want to get a night guard because it is too expensive, it is important to think about the cost of repairing long-term damage to your teeth. Once your teeth are damaged they will need to be fixed, and that enamel does not grow back on its own. Weigh all of the potential costs to fix your teeth against what the cost of a night guard will be, and see if that convinces you to make the investment to protect your teeth today.
Do Retainers Act As A Night Guard?
Many people assume that their retainers act as a night guard when they wear one after they get braces. While the retainer may protect their teeth from problems with grinding, it will not solve problems with clenching that lead to TMJ problems because a night guard has a flat surface that does not allow your jaw to fully engage in the clenching that causes the TMJ pain.
Reach out to your dentist if you have more questions about night guards.