Night guards (also known as occlusal guards, mouth guards, or occlusal splints) are protective coverings made of plastic that shield your teeth from damage and prevent the occurrence of teeth grinding. A night guard is structurally a lot like a retainer, consisting of a custom-fit mold that fits over both arches of teeth.
Night guards reduce jaw tension to reduce the incidence of clenching and grinding your teeth. The guard protects your teeth from the damage teeth grinding and dental injuries can cause. They also reduce pain associated with TMJ and alleviate sleep apnea. Contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Natchi at West Allen Dental today.
Occlusal guards can relieve muscle tension and alleviate painful joints.
Temporomandibular joint disorder also known as TMJ has no known cause. However, dental trauma, arthritis, and bruxism seem to play a role in the dysfunction of the jaw’s joints, muscles, or the jaw itself.
TMJ is a painful condition that results in lockjaw, clicking sounds when you open your mouth, headaches, ear pain, a stiff and tender jaw, and difficulty opening the mouth wide. Wearing a nightguard eases tension in the jaw’s muscles which can prevent and reduce symptoms of TMJ including pain in the jaw and head as well as relieving lockjaw.
As long as your sleep apnea is not severe, an occlusal guard can help keep your airway open and prevent pauses in your breathing throughout the night. This is because the mouth guard holds the lower jaw forward. If your tongue blocks your airway, a tongue retaining device can be used to hold the tongue in place.
Contact sports and bruxism can both cause serious damage to the teeth, such as:
Wearing an occlusal guard or night guard protects the teeth from damage during contact sports or from grinding your teeth at night because it acts as a barrier that cushions the teeth. The excess force applied to the teeth from injury or grinding is absorbed by the guard. These guards also have the effect of reducing tension in the jaw which makes you less likely to clench in the first place.
There is no specific known cause of TMJ, though injury and bruxism seem to increase your likelihood of developing the condition.
If you have a tooth that is severely decayed beyond what a root canal can fix, it may need to be extracted. This is especially true if the tooth is infected. Additional reasons why a tooth may need to be removed include crowding, impaction, and in some cases, for orthodontics to be successful.
It should only take a few days to recover from a tooth extraction if you follow Dr. Natchi’s aftercare instructions. If you’re still feeling pain after several days of recovery, it may be a sign of infection, or dry-socket. In this case, call us at (469) 242-9500 so we can see you as soon as possible to alleviate your pain and minimize the effects of infection.
Removing an infected tooth can save the rest of your smile.