A nightguard, is an appliance much like a retainer that you put in your mouth to protect your teeth while sleeping. This device is commonly used by people who suffer from bruxism, or excessive tooth grinding or clenching during the sleep. This grinding and clenching puts pressure on the jaw, which can cause temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, severe headaches, ear pain, and neck pain as well as causing excessive wear to the teeth.
Thin, transparent, and horseshoe-shaped, dental nightguards are created from hard but moldable plastics. The nightguard fits over either the upper or the lower teeth, creating a cushion between them and absorbing the impact of the grinding or clenching. Nightguards can help reduce damage of teeth, jaw joint inflammation, and irritation to the gums. Overall, most nightguard wearers report they have less pain and sleep better.
In order to be truly effective, nightguards need to be custom-made for each individual. This procedure typically takes two dental appointments. During the first visit, the dentist takes a bite record and makes an impression of the patient’s teeth. These will be used to create a customized nightguard that allows for proper teeth alignment. During the second appointment, the patient gives the nightguard a test run and the dentist makes any necessary adjustments.