A lot of us wake up from our slumber with a sore jaw or tooth pain. Sometimes, these conditions could also be accompanied with a faint headache. Therefore, it is possible that you are prone to grinding or clenching your teeth while asleep and may need a night guard for the same.

Night guards are usually recommended by dentists to patients so that it avoids further wear of the tooth while you’re sleeping. If you’re confused about whether you really need them, read on to find out.

What are night guards?

Night guards, also known as occlusal guards, are tiny shell like devices which are placed on top of your teeth to protect them while grinding. It is designed especially for people who grind or clench their teeth while sleeping, thus, damaging their enamel.

Made out of plastic, the guard can be placed on either of your upper or bottom teeth. However, guards are mostly made for upper teeth. It acts as a protective layer between the top and bottom teeth and prevents any wear to happen. This will help in easing out the jaw pain you have every morning as well as give you a better sleep.

Why do we need them?

The condition of grinding or clenching your teeth at night is scientifically known as bruxism. The condition is a common one and affects about 10 to 15 percent of the adult. The most common occurrences of bruxism are when the person is asleep or when they’re stressed. Thus, the night guards are suggested by the dentists as a form of treatment for this condition.

Instead of clenching your teeth while sleeping, you will grind the surface of the guard only. But most patients don’t recognize that they’re grinding their teeth unless they start feeling a lot of pain in their jaw.

This could be a sign of wearing down of your enamel and thus, you should consult a dentist immediately after noticing. Enamel is a protective layer of your tooth and the any damage to it could lead to bigger oral problems, like cavities.

When do I wear a night guard?

Dentists encourage you to get a custom night guard made in order to fit your teeth structure well. However, you can also find some at the local drugstore to try out. But, the local night guards aren’t made of good quality plastic and at most times are too big to fit your jaw. A well fitted night guard doesn’t hurt of feel loose. It fits comfortably in its place and allows you to breathe properly as well. You could also eat or drink while wearing your tooth guard but it is advised to wear it while sleeping.

What are other treatments to curb bruxism?

Apart from night guard, one can also ensure several steps to curb the grinding of their teeth. These steps include relaxation techniques to get rid of any stress and change in diet to curb it down. Food and beverages like caffeine, alcohol, etc. are advised to be avoided. If your teeth are not in alignment, this could also be a cause for bruxism. Thus, it can be corrected with a dental procedure.

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