The benefits of nightguards - What you need to know
Do you find you’re often waking up with discomfort or pain in your jaw, or a headache
that seems to linger each morning? It could be that you’re grinding your teeth while you’re
sleeping. Teeth grinding, also referred to as bruxism, is a lot more common than many people
think it is. It can also bring with it a number of health concerns, particularly some that impact
the health of your teeth and gums.
Your dentist will be able to identify some of these concerns during your routine checkup and
can also offer a number of solutions to help. One of these solutions may include the use of a
nightguard. If you’re not familiar with nightguards, learning more about their benefits may help
you to see how they could work well to address the issues that you’ve been struggling with.
What is a nightguard?
A nightguard, also referred to as a mouthguard or a dental split, is a special dental
device that is worn to cover some or all of the teeth. As the name indicates, the dental device is
most often worn at night, when you’re asleep, to help keep you from grinding your teeth while
you are asleep.
There are over-the-counter options that can be purchased from pharmacies, big box stores, or
online. But they may not be the best option to meet your needs. Your dentist will be able to not
only recommend a great option that will meet your needs but can offer solutions that are made
to fit your teeth precisely. An impression will be made of both your top and bottom teeth so
that a custom-fitting nightguard can be made for you. When you wear the nightguard at
bedtime, it should fit comfortably and not disrupt your sleep at all. The same can’t always be
said for over-the-counter options that have not been custom fit to your teeth and mouth.
Wearing a nightguard when you’re sleeping can help keep you from grinding your teeth, which
can help to protect your teeth and gums from all of the other concerns that bruxism can result
Benefit 1 – Protecting your teeth
Nightguards can protect your teeth from damage, or from further damage. When you grind
your teeth or clench them together in your sleep, it can result in chips and cracks. It can also
cause damage to your dental fillings and other dental work. Wearing a mouthguard can help to
protect against this damage by ensuring that your upper and lower teeth have no contact when
you’re sleeping. Teeth grinding is a common concern and can result in a number of dental
health problems. Most people aren’t even aware that they’re grinding their teeth while they
are asleep, which means there’s no way to stop it outside of using a nightguard.
Remember that tooth grinding can lead to teeth losing enamel, resulting in tooth sensitivity and
Benefit 2 – Keeping those headaches at bay
Frequent headaches are a common side effect of teeth grinding. You may also be
feeling aches in your neck and shoulders, perhaps even feeling radiating pain in your ears. This
is often due to the intense pressure that your teeth and jaws feel when you’re grinding your
teeth in your sleep. A custom nightguard can help to keep these frequent headaches and other
related pains from continuing to disrupt your life.
Benefit 3 - Reducing tension and pain in the jaw
That all-too-familiar pain you’ve been waking up with every morning can decrease drastically
when you reduce the pressure from teeth grinding. You may still make the motions at night
when you’re asleep, but your teeth and jaw won’t be under the same amount of pressure as
before. You may be waking up with an ache in your jaw. This is because tooth grinding is often
accompanied by jaw clenching, which can cause stress to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).
This can, in turn, result in what is known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD).
With a nightguard, you’ll reduce both the tension and the discomfort in the jaw. Your
nightguard will be made to fit your teeth, which means that it will assure you of a comfortable
fit so that your jaw can relax when you’re sleeping.
Benefit 4 – Reduce snoring
When you clench your teeth and jaw at night, you may not be breathing correctly when
you’re asleep. This is due to the narrowing of the airway when you’re sleeping. It can lead to
snoring, which can also lead to sleep disruptions. If you’ve been waking up almost as tired as
you were before bed, even after getting a full eight hours of sleep, you may be snoring during
A nightguard can help to open up your airway by keeping your upper and lower jaw from
connecting during sleep, which can help you to breathe better and sleep better.
Benefit 5 – Improved sleep quality
Reducing snoring, along with reducing teeth grinding and jaw clenching, can help you
to get a more restful sleep each night. This is something that you will appreciate the first night
that you sleep through and wake up feeling better rested. A custom-made nightguard that has
been made to fit your mouth will allow for jaw alignment that isn’t accompanied by discomfort
or pain. This can definitely help to encourage a better night of sleep.
There’s nothing like waking up feeling rested and ready to take on your day.
Benefit 6 – The cost benefits
Even with great dental insurance, you know that the costs of repairing damage to your teeth
can hit your budget a bit. Certainly, working with your dentist’s office can help you to find
workable budget solutions. But saving your teeth from further damage can help to save you
from a costly repair. The damage that can accompany teeth grinding and jaw clenching can be
significant, bringing a significant repair cost with it. The sooner that damage is stopped and
repaired, the better situation you’ll be in.
If you’ve been waking up with a headache or muscle pain in your jaw or neck, then you may
want to consider a custom mouthguard. Preventing new or worsening damage is the best way
to keep your teeth healthy.
Don’t forget to schedule your six-month checkup so that the health of your teeth and
gums can be evaluated before any minor concerns turn into major pains.