Teeth grinding or clenching is a common problem among today’s patients because of the stress either at work or in their life. The human jaws and muscles are capable of generating significant biting force. If this force constantly acts on the teeth while you are not engaging in normal functioning, it can wear down the teeth prematurely, breaking existing restorations, producing facial muscle spasm and TM joint pain or even migraine headache. Patient often complains about tooth sensitivity but without actual dental disease. This is occlusal disease involving the bite. It develops slowly and goes unnoticed until the symptoms become severe. A nightguard can help to protect the teeth and prevent the damage from this type of destructive jaw movement.
Nightguard must be rigid so it can transmit the biting force from one side to the other. It is custom made and covers the entire arch. Patients can choose which arch they want to place the nightguard. Custom-made nightguard is very comfortable and we use a lab in California to make Comfort Guard which is hard on the outside but soft inside. Patient wears it at night while most of the parafunctional or nonfunctional movement of the jaw occurs. Study shows if the jaw is open by 3 mm, it can relax the jaw muscles and reduce muscle spasm and migraine headache. The nightguard can protect the teeth from excessive wear or breaking of the restorations. Depending on the amount of grinding, a nightguard usually will last two years.