Should You Be Wearing a Nightguard?

north vancouver family dentistry

When you wake up to a headache, you know it’s going to be a rough day. Taking some Tylenol or Advil may help, but it seems like every time you open your mouth to speak or drink, the dull ache in your jaw brings your headache back.

Maybe this problem has been going on for a week or two, but some people deal with it for months or years before seeking out treatment. When you’re experiencing jaw pain accompanied by headaches, it’s time to schedule a visit at Pier Dental Centre to talk about getting a nightguard made.

What is a Dental Nightguard?

Nightguards or bite splints are made of plastic materials that fit snugly over your teeth to provide a cushion or buffer between your upper and lower jaws. You can find them at most local pharmacies, but the ones sold over the counter will be a generic “boil and bite” fit that is not customized to your unique mouth.

The best place to get a nightguard is from your local dentist. In North Vancouver, Dr. Rob Cegielski of Pier Dental Centre can help find the right night guard for your clenching or frequent headaches.

Reasons to Wear a Custom Bite Splint

During the day, if you notice yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, you can consciously tell yourself to stop. Opening your mouth and moving your jaw around, taking a drink, or simply disengaging your upper and lower jaws helps. Unfortunately, at night you don’t have that kind of control. Once you fall asleep, you lose the ability to loosen or stretch your muscles until you wake up again.

A night guard can help you with:

Grinding your teeth (also known as bruxism.) Gritting and grinding your teeth together can damage your enamel and dental work. Your teeth will wear down, chipping away at the softer layers under your outer enamel, or traumatizing the nerve inside of them. A nightguard protects your teeth from the harsh tooth-on-tooth grind and the breakdown of healthy structures.

TMD/TMJ Disorder and Migraine Headaches: The hinge of your jaw is called the Temporomandibular Joint, or TMJ. TMJ disorders (TMD) typically come with jaw pain, clicking or popping of the joint, and the inability to open the mouth fully and easily. TMD is frequently exacerbated by grinding. Clenching of the jaw muscles locks the teeth together for long periods of time, making it hard to move the jaw without pain or discomfort later. (Think how you feel after leg day at the gym. It’s the same concept but for your jaw!)

Pain from this prolonged contraction of the jaw muscle will often radiate to the head, and for some can even trigger a migraine. Wearing a nightguard keeps the jaw from being able to clench down all the way. It also provides slippage between the teeth, so they cannot lock into place to reinforce the jaw.

There’s no reason you need to continue living with the pain of grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw.  Make your appointment at our North Vancouver office. After a careful examination, Dr. Cegielski can plan the best TMJ disorder or clenching treatment for you!

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