Night guards / Bite Splints
Clenching and grinding of the teeth can cause jaw pain, destroy the surface of your teeth, and cause vertical fractures in the teeth. Severe grinding can cause damage to the enamel, jaw joint inflammation, headaches, and even irritation to the gums. Night guards and or bite splints are proactive approaches to protecting your existing healthy teeth from further damage and also, in most cases, relieve pain and other symptoms associated with clenching and grinding.
Custom fabricated night guards act as a cushion between the upper and lower teeth and effectively absorb the forces from clenching and grinding. They got their name due to the fact that most clenching and or grinding is done at night during sleep. Typically, we start our patients out with a night guard, which is a thin layer of acrylic that is form fitted to your teeth. The night guards are made from impressions of your teeth right in our office by our on-site technician. Night guards have proven to be very effective for most people and can last up to several years, depending on the patient’s grinding habits. They are significantly less expensive than laboratory fabricated night guards and are more durable than the over the counter “one size fits all” mouth guards sold in stores.
Sometimes clenching and grinding is so severe, however, that patients find that they have damaged their night guard beyond repair in just a few short weeks or months. In this case, we would recommend a custom lab fabricated bite splint. A bite splint is made similarly to a night guard, but is made with a thicker, more durable acrylic outer layer, and a softer inner surface for extra comfort. These splints are bigger and thicker than the night guard, and are made to withstand severe clenching and grinding.
We have many patients who have found relief with the use of a night guard or bite splint. If you are noticing jaw pain or discomfort and or frequent headaches; be sure to let us know so we can talk to you about whether or not a night guard or bite splint is right for you.