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Nightguards: What are They, and Why do I Need to Wear One?

Posted by DR. MICHAEL LUM on May 18 2020, 11:32 PM

Nightguards: What are They, and Why do I Need to Wear One?

The teeth serve several purposes, such as biting and chewing food, maintaining the facial structure and speech, and allowing us to sport a beautiful smile. Throughout the day, they are put through a lot of unpleasant conditions such as coming in contact with different types of foods and beverages, microbial activity, excessive wear, etc. This can affect their health, functionality, and, most importantly, their appearance.

Teeth grinding is a common issue faced by individuals of all age groups. Be it conscious or subconscious, and the resultant would be teeth that have worn out severely. This exposes the inner dentin to the microbes in the mouth, which can lead to extreme sensitivity, higher chances of developing cavities, and ill-shaped teeth.

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is a sleep disorder that is characterized by the subconscious grinding of teeth. It is known to be a primary symptom of a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. Patients with sleep apnea have difficulty breathing while asleep due to the collapse of tissues in the throat, which blocks the airway. Bruxism has the following drawbacks:

  • Pain in the facial joints due to clenching the jaws
  • Teeth that have worn our severely, almost down to their stubs
  • Difficulty with biting and chewing food as the biting surfaces will have worn out
  • Limited movement of the lower jaw
  • Persistent headaches, especially in the morning right after waking up
  • Soreness in the jaws

What is the solution?

The best way to reduce the severity of bruxism is by using a nightguard. A night guard is an oral appliance that is worn by patients who suffer from bruxism and sleep apnea. The appliance looks similar to an athletic mouth guard that sportspersons wear. Patients will have to wear it before going to sleep, and the guard prevents contact between the teeth from both jaws. The cushioning inhibits the wear of the teeth and prevents the facial joints from enduring a lot of stress.

Need for a customized nightguard

Nightguards are readily available and can be picked up from your local pharmacy. But, they are usually ill-fitting. Over time, your jaws, gums, and teeth may start to pain from continuous usage. The alignment of the teeth may also change, thereby altering your bite. On the contrary, if you choose to get a customized nightguard from a dentist, the fit and comfort offered by it would be seamless. The dentist will scan your teeth to create a digital mold, which will be used to fabricate the nightguard from a dental-grade plastic material. It will fit perfectly over the teeth, and wouldn’t harm the soft tissues of the mouth.


Reach out by calling at (408) 262-1710 or schedule an online appointment with Dr. Lum, and we’ll be happy to assist you further.


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