Many people wear or have been advised to wear a dental night guard. The phrase “night guard” can be confusing, and is often used interchangeably with “appliance”, “splint”, “orthotic”, “NTI” or other terms. In general when we think of a dental night guard we are describing a dental device worn over the teeth during sleep. Despite having many different names, one of these devices may have been recommended to you. In practice there are about six different categories of dental night guards based on how the device impacts your teeth, joints and muscles.
The most common reason that a dentist might recommend a night guard is to protect your teeth from tooth wear. The first step is to recognize that your teeth are wearing down or dissolving. If the loss of tooth is being caused by the top and bottom teeth rubbing or clenching together, then a night guard can dramatically reduce the damage to the teeth.
Night guards may also be recommended to treat TMJ disorders and facial pain by protecting your jaw joints and helping the muscles in your face relax. Many patients who suffer from tension headaches report pain relief with one of the six designs of night guard. If you think you may need a night guard we are happy to work with you and identify whether or not it will benefit you and which type is most appropriate.