If you're one of the many people who suffer from teeth grinding at night, you may be wondering if a dental night guard is right for you. Here's what you need to know about them.

What are dental night guards?

Dental night guards are custom-made mouthpieces that fit over your teeth to prevent clenching and grinding. They are also sometimes called bite plates, splints, or occlusal appliances.

Night guards are usually made of flexible plastic or acrylic and can be either hard or soft. Hard night guards are less expensive but can be uncomfortable. The soft night guards, on the other hand, are more comfortable but also more expensive.

Why do people wear dental night guards?

People wear dental night guards for a variety of reasons. The most common reason is to protect teeth from the damage caused by clenching and grinding, which is also called bruxism. Bruxism can happen while you are awake or asleep and can cause a number of dental problems, including:

  • Wearing down the tooth enamel
  • Cracks in the teeth
  • Damage to the roots of the teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches

Dental night guards provide a barrier between the teeth to prevent this type of damage and to relieve any pain associated with bruxism.

Do dental night guards help with TMJ?

Temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly just referred to as TMJ, is a condition that can cause extreme pain in the jaw. It can also cause clicking or popping sounds when you move your jaw. It can also cause difficulty chewing or opening your mouth.

While dental night guards cannot cure TMJ, they can help to relieve some of the symptoms, especially soreness in the jaw area. Night guards can help by realigning the bite and taking pressure off of the TMJ joint.

How are dental night guards made?

Dental night guards are usually made by taking an impression of the teeth, which is then used to create a model of the mouth and make a custom night guard that fits your mouth exactly. While some guards can be purchased over-the-counter, these are not as effective as custom night guards.

What are the benefits of dental night guards?

There are many benefits of dental night guards, including:

  • Preventing damage to the teeth from clenching and grinding
  • Reducing jaw pain
  • Relieving headaches
  • Minimizing the risk of developing TMJ

How much do dental night guards cost?

The cost of dental night guards varies depending on the type of guard, the material it is made from, and whether it is custom-made or not. However, custom night guards are often partially covered by dental insurance and are typically an authorized expense for HSA and FSA accounts.

If you think you need dental night guards, talk to your dental provider today about your options.