Grinding Appliances or nightguards are fabricated for patients who either brux or clench their teeth. Grinding appliances are generally only worn while you sleep.
Bruxism is where patents literally grind their tooth structure away. Clenching is where patients lock into one position and put a tremendous amount of pressure on their TMJ and teeth. Both bruxing and clenching can lead to TMJ dysfunction, broken or cracked teeth, and root canals. This chronic trauma to the TMJ and teeth often leads to pain and dental work. Fortunately, wearing a simple grinding appliance can help prevent any of this damage to the TMJ and teeth. Grinding appliances are generally made out of acrylic and can be worn either on the upper teeth or lower teeth. Because these appliances are made out of acrylic, they will also function as a retainer and keep your teeth straight. Cheaper appliances can be made out of a thermoplastic material but they do not benefit the patient nearly as much. In our 24/7 world today, many more people are clenching and bruxing. Once again, these appliances really only need to be worn while you sleep as you can literally brux or clench for hours during your sleep. Some patients do wear these appliances during the day for extra relief if they are experiencing a lot of discomfort. Clenching and grinding can also cause myofascial pain, headaches, and pain in the back of your neck. Our office loves being able to help patients with these grinding guards, as it is such a noninvasive procedure that accomplishes so much good for the patient. However, patient compliance is critical. If you clench or brux as an adult, you will do it your entire adult life. How much you clench or brux each night may vary, but you never completely stop. Grinding appliances are a simple noninvasive safeguard to ensure optimal dental health.