Many people hear from their dentists that they are clenching or grinding their teeth. This subconscious habit that usually occurs during sleep can cause extensive damage to the teeth and gums, which is expensive to repair. The good news is that most of the damage is preventable.
If your dentist sees evidence of clenching or grinding, you should seriously consider wearing a professional night guard. These custom-fitted dental appliances protect your teeth and gums from the damage that clenching or grinding causes.
Protect Against Cracked Teeth
Cracked teeth are difficult to both diagnose and treat. They typically cause pain during chewing and sensitivity to cold. It is possible to crack a tooth by biting into a hard object, but most commonly, the cause of cracked teeth is the continual stress of clenching or grinding.
A professional night guard protects your teeth against cracking in a variety of ways. Covering the teeth provides a splinting effect. Placing a physical barrier between the teeth prevents the tight, puzzle-piece-type interlocking of the upper and lower teeth that can produce heavy forces. The thickness of this physical barrier also prevents the muscles of the face and jaws from fully contracting, thus reducing the amount of force applied to the teeth.
Protect Against Gum Recession
Gum recession is a very common problem with a variety of causes. One of those causes is heavy clenching or grinding. The forces of bruxism (the scientific term for clenching and/or grinding) put stress on the tissues surrounding the teeth, as well as the teeth themselves. The gum tissue response to these heavy forces is often to pull back toward the root or “recede”, leading to gum recession.
Wearing a nightguard protects against gum recession by reducing the total amount of force applied to the teeth and redistributing the forces among all of the teeth. This redistribution is important to protect teeth that may have heavier bite forces than other teeth from developing disproportionate gum recession.
Protect Against Flattened, Shortened Teeth
Sometimes, a dentist can tell that someone clenches or grinds his teeth at first glance due to the noticeable shortening and flattening of the front teeth. This is a process known as attrition. Attrition occurs slowly over time, and the damage it causes is both difficult and expensive to repair.
Attrition makes you look much older than you really are. Not only do the flattened, shortened teeth appear old. The shortening of the teeth causes a vertical collapse of the face, leading to more lines and wrinkles.
By wearing a nightguard to physically protect the teeth, you can preserve their length and contour, even under the most persistent clenching or grinding.
Protect Existing Dental Work
Many people do not realize that clenching or grinding isn’t just a threat to the teeth and gums. It can also damage your existing dental work. The heavy forces of clenching or grinding can cause fillings and crowns to crack or break. Some people have fillings or crowns that completely debond or dislodge from the tooth. The most frustrating damage to dental work is cracking or chipping of porcelain veneers on your front teeth. This obvious and unattractive damage requires immediate attention and expensive repair.
You can protect your existing dental work in the same way you protect your teeth and gums. Wearing a night guard on a consistent basis prevents chipping and breaking fillings, crowns, and veneers. The cost of a nightguard is far less than the expense of replacing even a single veneer, so it is a worthwhile investment!
More Questions About Night Guards? Call Rockland Dental Today!
Call Rockland Dental Specialists today (845)-259-2500 or contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our dental experts. We can answer any questions you have about clenching and grinding or night guards to protect yourself against the damage those habits cause. We love helping our patients take preventive measures to protect their teeth and gums.