Did you know that chronic stress can have a huge impact on your overall oral health and lead to certain disorders? Have you noticed that you are experiencing headaches more regularly or pain and stiffness in your jaw and neck? A nightguard may be the solution to help with issues you may be experiencing.
What Is the Difference Between a Mouthguard and a Nightguard?
Both types are designed to protect your teeth. However, each does so in different ways.
Mouthguards are worn by athletes to protect their teeth during sports events, especially contact matches. They are thicker than nightguards but softer. They are designed to withstand impact and shocks. The American Dental Association recommends wearing a mouthguard when playing contact sports to reduce oral injuries.
Nightguards are worn while you sleep and are made from a different material than mouth guards. They are thinner to help you sleep comfortably. Their purpose is to protect your teeth if you grind them at night.
Why Might You Need a Nightguard?
There are lots of different reasons you may need a nightguard. Here are the most common ones.
Bruxism is the technical name for grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw. Teeth grinding can lead to worn-down enamel and loose or broken teeth. It also puts a strain on the muscles and ligaments in the jaw which can lead to pain, muscle aches, tightness and headaches. Bruxism can be caused by extreme stress and anxiety.
Temporomandibular disorders are when you have pain in your jaw joints and the muscles that control the jaw. They also encompass the pain you may notice through popping or locking of the joints, limited movement of your jaw, stiffness, headaches and ear pain.
TMJ/TMD can happen for a variety of reasons. Misalignment of your bite — where your teeth don’t line up properly. This can cause irregular movements when chewing and lead to problems with the joints.
Clenching and grinding your teeth (Bruxism) and arthritis causing deterioration of the cartilage are two main culprits. Trauma and injury can also cause the disorder.
Nightguards can help with snoring. They pull the lower jaw forward which opens your airway. This also helps to stop the vibrations of the soft tissues.
Sleep apnea can be a serious sleep condition where you stop breathing when you sleep. This can lead to you not getting enough oxygen, and this can cause heart disease and increase your risk of a stroke. As with snoring, the nightguard pushes your lower jaw and tongue forward enabling your airway to stay open.
When to See Your Dentist
If you are experiencing any sort of jaw pain, trouble chewing or persistent headaches, it is important to let your dentist know. Also, if you notice your teeth have become loose, chipped or broken, then it may be time to book a checkup.
During your dental checkup, your jaw will be examined and x-rays taken. If you are experiencing pain in between your regular checkups, it is important to inform your dentist so they can investigate the cause. They may recommend a nightguard.
At West Coast Dental, we use Silent Nite sleep appliances by Nitewell. They are affordable, comfortable and a non-invasive solution. Schedule an appointment with us today, and we can advise if Silent Nite is suitable for your needs.
The Journal of The American Dental Association — Using Mouth Guards To Reduce The Incidence and Severity Of Sports-Related Oral Injuries
Mayo Clinic — TMJ Disorders
West Coast Dental — Dental Cleanings, Exams & X-rays
West Coast Dental — Appointments
West Coast Dental — Silent Nite: Stop Snoring Start Living
Glidewell — Silent Nite Sleep Appliance