Do you grind or clench your teeth at night? Whether it comes from stress or a habitual behavior you can’t change, teeth grinding can shorten the teeth causing pain, arthritis, and even fractures. The worn-out enamel could eventually require cosmetic dentistry to fix and avoid future issues.
One solution many dentists prescribe their patients is a night guard, but this may not be the solution for everyone.
What is a Night Guard?
When you head to bed, a night guard will protect your teeth from bruxism (teeth grinding). The plastic dental device fits over the top of your teeth. If you start grinding through the night, the night guard will take the brunt of the damage while your teeth remain safe from harm.
There are two types of night guards:
- Generic: A one-size-fits-all option you can find over the counter.
- Custom: A night guard molded to your teeth that you must get prescribed by a dentist.
The right-fitting night guard is essential in treating teeth grinding. It should fit snugly, and there shouldn’t be any pressure on your teeth. If you feel uneven contact between the top and bottom night guards, it can make the problem worse.
The most accessible and most affordable way to help with bruxism is to buy an over-the-counter night guard. However, crooked teeth don’t fit well in these. As a solution, cosmetic dentistry not only straightens your teeth but helps you find a better-fitting night guard.
Benefits of Using a Night Guard
A night guard is ideal for protecting your teeth from forceful grinding through the night. The main benefit of using a night guard is avoiding cracking, fracturing, or shortening your tooth enamel from bruxism.
Potential Drawbacks of a Night Guard
Night guards don’t have many benefits besides protecting your teeth from future harm. Using a night guard doesn’t fix the problem causing the bruxism, whether it be an underlying medical condition or an annoying habit that’s hard to shake. If you clench your jaw at night, night guards aren’t very protective, and you can still develop TMJ issues while using the device.
Cosmetic Dentistry to Help Teeth Grinding
Beyond night guards, cosmetic dentistry procedures like Botox® Cosmetic procedures can brighten your smile and help with teeth grinding. Dentists will inject medicine into your jaw muscles disabling them enough to stop clenching and grinding at night but not enough to harm the ability to chew or talk.
If you suffer from pain and headaches caused by teeth grinding, Botox® can help relieve that tension. It can also smooth out your facial features and keep your jaw from misaligning from over-clenching.
With Botox®, there’s not much recovery time and no unusual bruising. The procedure is temporary, but each injection lasts six months. If you continue getting the procedure, each injection can last up to nine months.
Cosmetic Dentistry for Problems Caused by Teeth Grinding
If you’re already suffering from problems caused by teeth grinding, such as worn-out enamel or occlusal trauma, cosmetic dentistry can help fix your smile. Repairing these issues and straightening your teeth will help you find a form-fitting night guard if you continue to grind your teeth.
Dental crowns are among the most common ways to restore teeth and make you feel comfortable smiling again. Temporary crowns remove tooth decay and stay in place while you wait for a new, permanent crown. Artificial crowns feature porcelain or ceramic material bonded to gold that fit onto your gums. Crowns look authentic and remain white and shiny.
Gum grafts and crown lengthening are two additional procedures that can repair cracked or fractured teeth. Gum grafts restore worn-out gum tissue. Crown lengthening is a cosmetic procedure that lifts gums off the tops of your teeth, making them appear more extensive and more prominent.
Talk to Your Dentist
Your dentist knows your teeth best, so talking to them about the best options for you is the best approach. While night guards are an excellent option, they may not be the ideal solution for your teeth. Cosmetic dentistry may be a better option.
At Dr. Hal Arnold’s office, the team helps you get to the root of your bruxism. Starting with the diagnosis, a small electromyography device measures your jaw muscle movements while you sleep, allowing the dentists to determine your bruxism severity.
The NTI-tss device is a device specially fitted to your mouth. It only covers the front teeth, but it limits muscle contractions in your jaw to keep you from grinding your rear molars while you sleep.
No matter the cause of your teeth grinding and jaw clenching, night guards and cosmetic dentistry are both feasible solutions to ease your pain and help you sleep better at night.