Can A Night Guard Make Clenching Worse?

Can A Night Guard Make Clenching Worse?

Jun 01, 2022

Teeth grinding and clenching, also known as bruxism, is a common sleep-related disorder affecting millions globally. Bruxism happens unconsciously during sleep.

Unfortunately, most people don’t realize they have the problem until they have experienced the associated side effects. Over time, regular teeth grinding and clenching can cause teeth damage, jaw damage like temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), and chronic headaches.

In most cases, your dentist will recommend wearing a nightguard when sleeping to reduce the effects of sleep bruxism. The nightguard provides a protective barrier between the upper and the lower teeth, preventing them from grinding against each other. Consequently, this reduces teeth damage and jaw pain and improves your sleep. Contact our dentist in Concord, NH, if you suspect you might have bruxism.

What is a Nightguard?

A night guard is a dental appliance made of plastic that places over the top teeth. If you grind your teeth, much of the grinding force is transferred to the night guard, preventing teeth damage. Without the nightguard, teeth grind over each other, leading to cracks, fractures, breaks, enamel erosion, and sensitivity. It often causes the need for extensive and costly dental procedures like root canals and dental crowns.

Can a Nightguard Make Bruxism Worse?

While a nightguard is highly effective, experts warn that sometimes they can worsen the problem, particularly if they are low-quality. Low-quality generic nightguards can be bulky and uncomfortable, which can cause breathing difficulties when sleeping, causing you to grind your teeth even more. To prevent such issues, get a custom-fit nightguard from your dentist.

They will take impressions and records of your mouth and design a customized nightguard. Compared to over-the-counter nightguards, a customized nightguard from your dentist offers the best protection, comfort, and durability. You won’t also experience difficulties breathing or speaking.

Another key factor about using a nightguard for bruxism is that it doesn’t address the underlying condition. A nightguard only reduces the effects or symptoms caused by teeth grinding without eliminating the root cause. You’ll continue to grind or clench your teeth, worsening the condition over time.

While sometimes it can be difficult to diagnose the root cause of teeth grinding and clenching, the condition results from sleep apnea and stress. Sleep apnea is a sleep-related disorder where breathing suddenly stops and starts when sleeping. Commonly, the condition results from airway obstruction. When you can’t breathe, your body will attempt to reopen the blocked airway through the reflux mechanism. This action causes grinding motions to help create airway space.

While wearing a nightguard will protect your teeth from damage, it doesn’t address the sleep apnea situation. That’s why it’s always essential for dentists to screen for sleep apnea when dealing with bruxism. If the root cause of bruxism is sleep apnea, treating it will eliminate teeth grinding altogether.

Should You Wear a Night Guard?

If your dentist has recommended wearing a nightguard when sleeping, you should do it. With a nightguard, your dentist can use different approaches to relieve bruxism. These include:

  • Stress or anxiety management. If bruxism results from stress or emotional issues, you can find relief through counseling and relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation.
  • Behavior changes. Learning how to position your mouth and jaw properly can help reduce teeth grinding. If you have sleep apnea, sleeping on your side can provide further relief.
  • Addressing medical issues. If underlying issues such as sleep apnea or gastroesophageal reflux disease cause your bruxism, treating these conditions improves bruxism.
  • Medications. Your dentist can prescribe short-term medications such as anti-anxiety or antidepressants to manage emotional issues that may be causing bruxism. Muscle relaxants and Botox injections also provide short-term relief from bruxism.

Your dentist will continually monitor your symptoms and progress to determine whether the treatment works. If necessary, they may change your treatments. Follow your dentist’s instructions strictly for quick recovery.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Are you looking for nightguards in Concord, NH, or do you need more information about teeth grinding and clenching? Contact Concord Dental Associates to book your dentist appointment today.

Our dental office in Concord, NH also welcome patients from the below given nearby areas

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