Night Guards in Gretna, LA
Did you know that you can bite with three times the force when you are sleeping as when you are awake? Your jaw muscles can exert enormous force. You may even feel tooth sensitivity upon waking due to the nighttime pressure of grinding.
Have you ever awakened with a sore jaw and felt that your jaw muscles ran a marathon while you were dreaming? The reason is that many people grind and clench their teeth when asleep. Night guards are a way of protecting your teeth as well as preventing some of the most destructive grinding and clenching during the night.
What is a Night Guard?
A night guard is a piece of hardened plastic that is specifically made for your teeth as well as your bite. Dr. Schafer's night guards have two purposes:
First, they are made so that you will grind into the guard rather than into your teeth. The hardened plastic is strong enough to withstand the forces you place on your mouth at night, but it is also soft enough so that it doesn't hurt your teeth or dental crowns or fillings. Over time, your night guard will wear away and need to be replaced in the same way that your tires on your car will need to be replaced. However, replacing a night guard is much cheaper and less painful than fixing a broken tooth or broken crown.
Secondly, night guards help prevent the most destructive grinding by triggering natural reflexes that your body has. To test this reflex, try clenching down on your front teeth and then your back teeth. You will notice that you can't clench down nearly as hard on your front teeth as you do on your back teeth. Your night guard will be custom made to help engage this reflex when you are sleeping so that your muscles can relax when you are sleeping.
Store-Bought Night Guards
Many people use store-bought night guards to help save money. Dr. Schafer is a proponent of these economical night guards if they work well for you. These night guards do a good job of protecting the teeth. However, many times they are soft which can cause many muscle problems. When your jaw notices something soft between the teeth, often times the jaw muscles want to contract and grind reflexively. If you use one of these over the counter night guards and notice any jaw pain, please discontinue immediately. The jaw pain will worsen and prevent you from sleeping well.
Contact Us for an Evaluation
Do you wake up with pain in your jaws or do you have of dental work that needs to be protected? If so, please call us today at NOLA Dentures and General Dentistry for a night guard evaluation.