Should I be using a Night Guard?

Should I be using a Night Guard?

by Olivia Pryor (SU)

Do you suffer from headaches, sore or clicking jaw, sensitive teeth, recession, worn or chipped teeth, or have trouble sleeping? These are just a few of the most common side effects from grinding or clenching your teeth (also known as bruxism). You may not be aware you have it until you start to feel its associated discomforts. It can lead to worn tooth enamel, fractured teeth, and an increased risk of tooth decay. 

The American Dental Association surveyed dentists throughout the COVID pandemic, helping to gauge how pandemic related stress has affected oral health. The results published March 2, 2021 show that stress-related dental conditions have continued to increase throughout the pandemic. More than 70% of dentists report seeing teeth grinding and clenching. The poll also found a little more than 60% of dentist saw an increase in chipped and cracked teeth, jaw pain, and headaches. It is more important than ever for people to maintain their dental health, including seeing the dentist regularly to address any issues. 

Here at Marion Smile Center, we offer high-quality occlusal guards that have helped hundreds of our patients protect their teeth and significantly reduce their headaches, earaches, facial pain, and all the other discomforts caused by excessive teeth grinding. 

Let’s learn about what occlusal guards exactly are, why the custom-fit ones we offer here are at Marion Smile Center are superior compared to those sold in stores, and how to go about getting custom occlusal guards with us.

What Exactly Are Night Guards?

An occlusal guard—or what some people refer as a night guard—is a hard transparent mouth piece that is custom made to snap over your lower teeth to prevent the upper teeth from directly touching the lower teeth. This protects your teeth and prevents them from grinding against each other, which in turn, wears your teeth down. You will wear the guard every night, some people even wear it during the day (whenever you find yourself clenching or grinding most). This allows a person’s muscles to relax, reducing jaw pain and headaches.

Why Choose a Custom Professional Occlusal Guard? 

In the same way that no two mouths are the same, a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t exactly applicable to night guards. 

A store-bought night guard usually doesn’t fit well, and therefore, may not also provide proper protection. Since custom night guards are specially designed to fit very snugly onto your lower teeth, there’s little risk of the device coming loose or shifting your teeth. Also, a custom-fit night guard allows your lower jaw to go where it is most comfortable; this allows the muscles to relax, lessening headaches and jaw soreness. This is why Dr. Mark Marion highly recommends custom professional night guards— for your optimal comfort and protection.

Custom night guards are also effective at helping prevent bruxism from developing into temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), which are a group of conditions that affect the joint controlling jaw movement. When the joint comes under pressure due to excessive teeth grinding, it can result in facial pain and tenderness, among other discomforts.

But if you already have TMD, Dr. Marion may also recommend a custom night guard to relieve the pressure on the TMJ. If you have dental veneers, a custom night guard can help ensure their longevity.

Although custom night guards are more expensive than the ones sold in stores, their benefits are long-term, making them a cost-effective option. With proper care and maintenance, custom occlusal guards can last many years, unlike those sold in stores that may need to be replaced very frequently.

How Do I Get A Custom-Fit Night Guard?

At Marion Smile Center, we welcome you to discuss your possible need for an occlusal guard at your next cleaning appointment with us. During your appointment, we would use the latest digital technology to scan your upper and lower teeth, along with your bite. About 2 weeks later, we fit your guard and make any necessary adjustments. We recommend you bring your guard to any future appointments so we can inspect and professionally clean it using our ultrasonic cleaner.  

High-Quality Night Guards in Zelienople, PA

At Marion Smile Center, we have specially designed night guards that match your unique characteristics down to the last detail, ensuring superior fit and comfort. You never have to worry about getting stuck in the dentist chair for hours: the entire process is quick and painless.

On top of that, Dr. Mark Marion also provides restorative dental treatments to address any damage, such as worn-down enamel and breaking teeth, to fix and prevent any painful symptoms caused by teeth grinding. Once your night guard is ready, Dr. Marion will teach you how to take good care of it, providing you with instructions on how to properly clean and store it.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Marion, call us at (724) 452-4300 or fill out our appointment request form.