A night guard is a type of oral appliance that you wear over your teeth during sleep. Your dentist can build a customized mouthguard-like device for many reasons to suit your unique dental needs.
The individualized approach means that you can use a night guard without disrupting your sleep schedule because it will fit securely and comfortably in the mouth. But you might wonder if this device can actually help your smile.
Boost confidence in the preventative capabilities of your night guard by talking to your dentist. You can also read on to discover three oral health benefits you can notice when you start wearing a night guard while you sleep.
Treat Mild Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is a type of disorder in which the tissue at the back of the throat relaxes and collapses to block the airway briefly during sleep. Though not acutely life-threatening, untreated sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems. So you should talk to your doctor if you notice this happening.
But mild cases of obstructive sleep apnea can be treated with a dentist’s help too. The dentist can give you a special night guard that you wear as you sleep. It keeps your jaw aligned in a way that will stop tissue from collapsing and impacting your breathing.
Some people do not tolerate a CPAP machine, a device that involves a mask that forces air into the airway to treat sleep apnea. So the night guard proves to be an effective alternative to improve patient compliance with treatment.
Stop Chronic Jaw Pain
Do you notice soreness in your jaw, especially when you wake up in the morning? Oral pain of any kind is abnormal. Pain in your jaw can point to a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). TMJ can lead to worsening jaw pain, stiffness and dysfunction in the jaw, and a clicking sound when moving the jaw.
This disorder can develop due to excess pressure exerted on the teeth that radiates to the muscles of the jaw. This creates tension that leads to irritation of the jaw joint and ultimately TMJ. If you clench your teeth as you sleep, you generate this type of pressure. And during sleep, you do not have the awareness to stop this behavior.
A night guard will cushion the teeth against this pressure so that tension does not extend to the jaw and cause uncomfortable TMJ symptoms. Then you can find relief from chronic jaw pain, which otherwise will not go away on its own.
Protect Teeth and Dental Work from Bruxism
As mentioned, many people grind or clench their teeth as they sleep. Even if they do not know they have this habit, the constant grating of the teeth against each other can lead to serious dental damage.
Your teeth may wear down or fracture, which will leave them in danger of further oral health problems without urgent repair from your dentist. Or you could harm existing dental work like fillings or crowns.
A night guard will protect your teeth and dental fixtures from bruxism that could seriously hurt your smile. Learn more by contacting your dentist today.