Nightguards are designed to wear at night and protect your teeth from the damages of clenching/grinding (worn, chipped, fractured teeth/crowns), headaches (including migraines) and TMJ problems. Grinding wears away enamel and once it’s gone, it’s gone. At our office we believe there’s no reason not to have beautiful teeth at the age of 80 (yes, I said “80”), but it must begin by preventing wear on teeth starting years sooner. I’ve been wearing a nightguard for well over 30 years and I love mine! Here at this office, our nightguards may be a little different than what you’d find elsewhere. We make “lower” nightguards. And we make them after relaxing the grinding muscles with a TENs unit. Why TENS? My commitment to you is that I want you to “love” your nightguard. I can only get you to love it if the muscles are comfortable while wearing it. If you love it, you’re more likely going to use it. I’ve personally tried both upper and lower nightguards and there is a clear difference. For one, you can still talk while wearing a lower nightguard (allows you to wear during the day if you want to). Second, upper night guards have a higher risk of crowding the tongue. If the tongue doesn’t have room to sit in its normal spot, it has to sit further back. Uhhh, there’s an airway back there…. anyone ever heard of airway obstruction, or sleep apnea? And, get this; grinding is now considered a “red-flag” for possible sleep apnea. No kidding!
It’s no wonder that at our office we take grinding teeth seriously. First, we want you to look “hot” as you age, secondly, we want your dentistry to last longer, and thirdly (and perhaps more importantly), we want to make sure you’re breathing well enough while you sleep. Which is why we encourage all our patients who grind to take home the Noxturnal unit and sleep with it one night so that we have a better understanding of the seriousness of your grinding. This gathered information helps us determine the type of night guard appropriate for you. For more information about this subject, take a look at the tab “Sleep Apnea” or “TMJ” or “Neuromuscular Dentistry” or “Headaches” or “Myofunctional therapy”. They’re all related. And of course, if the answers to your questions are not here, please feel free to call us at 360-424-0123.
Janette Carroll, DDS located in Mount Vernon, WA