Benefits of Occlusal Guards
Occlusal guards, also called nightguards, are a treatment for patients who experience bruxism, excessive teeth grinding, or jaw clenching. Patients may experience tension headaches, pain around their teeth and jaw, and tooth decay. Over time, these actions result in severe wear and tear and degradation of your teeth’s enamel. Occlusal guards are designed to protect your teeth while you sleep and relieve the symptoms of grinding and clenching your teeth at night.
Top 5 Benefits of Occlusal Guards for Treating Bruxism
Patients who grind and clench their teeth while they sleep are doing so involuntarily. Therefore, it can be difficult for the patient to control without an occlusal guard. An occlusal guard is worn on the top and bottom rows of your teeth at night to protect the biting surface. There are 5 main benefits of using an occlusal guard or nightguard to control bruxism:
#1 Protects Teeth from Damage
An occlusal guard protects your teeth while you sleep, relieving the symptoms of bruxism and avoiding future dental problems. The most important reason that patients use a nightguard is to protect their teeth. Grinding and clenching the teeth wear down the enamel, the tooth’s natural protective layer. When the enamel gets worn down, the teeth are vulnerable to root rot, tooth decay, cavities, toothaches, and sensitivity.
#2 Prevents Jaw and Tooth Pain
When you grind and clench your teeth, it puts a lot of pressure on your bones and muscles. You might wake up with a jaw ache, headache, or tooth pain for no apparent reason. A nightguard relieves the stress on your bones, joints, and muscles, so you wake up without pain.
#3 Eliminates Headaches
A common side effect of bruxism is waking up with a headache. Migraine and headaches result from the extreme pressure and stress put on your jaw while you sleep. Occlusal guards eliminate the strain on your jaw, relieving headaches.
#4 Promotes Restful Sleep
Sleep deprivation contributes to the severity of the symptoms of bruxism. The headaches and jaw pain worsen over time because you are not getting a restful night’s sleep. It is impossible to achieve deep and restful sleep while subconsciously grinding and clenching your teeth. A nightguard helps you wake up more rested and prevents bruxism from disturbing your slumber.
#5 Comfortable and Customized for Your Mouth
Occlusal guards are custom-made using a dental impression of your mouth to ensure the treatment is comfortable. Most patients don’t experience any discomfort or disturbance from the occlusal guard. Instead, the guards fit your mouth like a glove and help you stay asleep without damaging your teeth. Once your custom guard is ready, Dr. Scott K. Burns will make adjustments to ensure it is the perfect thickness and fit for your mouth.
Dental Approaches to Treating Bruxism, Jaw Clenching, and Teeth Grinding
In addition to using an occlusal guard, patients with severe bruxism may need a dental correction procedure to alleviate symptoms. If grinding and clenching have made it difficult to chew correctly, it might be necessary to reshape and restore your teeth.
Is an occlusal guard right for you?
A custom-made occlusal guard is the best way to halt ongoing damage to your teeth, prevent an escalation in symptom severity, and relieve the adverse side effects of bruxism. If you suffer from bruxism, a nightguard is the most effective treatment. Call our office today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Butts and determine if an occlusal guard is the right treatment for you.