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Nightguards: Protect Your Teeth

Nightguards are the treatment of choice for Bruxism

Behavioral Treatment Tips Appointments
Nightguard Treatment Lifespan

Treatments

The goal is to change behaviors in order to relieve symptoms

bulletNightguard (see below)
bulletLearning how to rest the tongue, teeth and lips properly. The tongue should rest upward with teeth apart and lips shut to help relieve the discomfort.
bulletLearn to control bad habits, i.e., chewing on ice or chewing fingernails or pens.
bulletChewing gum nervously much of the day increases the wear and tear on the joint giving little opportunity for your jaw to recover between meals.
bulletIf you chew habitually only on one side of your mouth, you concentrate all the pressure on one side rather than equally on both sides of your mouth so you need to learn to chew evenly, left vs. right.
bulletMedication may need to be used to relieve sore muscles or reduce stress
bulletClenching and grinding can be consciously suppressed.
bulletTreat symptoms first with cold packs and as pain and spasms resolve than try hot packs for half-hour at least twice daily
bulletNonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents (Ibuprofen, Naprosyn, Tylenol, Alleve) even aspirin are very effective for reducing inflammation in joints and are recommended before bed and upon waking
bulletMost importantly, the joint should be placed at rest by eating a soft diet, which avoids hard, chewy or sticky foods
bulletMouth exercises to improve mouth opening (slow opening and closing, stretching the muscles to their extent then relaxing them)
bulletRelaxation or stress management techniques
bulletRegular exercise to reduce stress
bulletRepair teeth that have been damaged from the grinding

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Nightguards protect your teeth from grinding, clenching and bruxism

     Nightguard  takes the punishment that your teeth would normally endure during bruxism to minimize the damage from grinding your teeth. 

     A nightguard is a custom-made thin transparent horseshoe-shaped (retainer like appliance) made of hard plastic that has shallow borders for good tooth alignment and ideal bite relationship. 

     This splint is worn between the top and bottom teeth and does not allow the teeth to interlock which absorbs the force of the clenching and grinding to reduce joint irritation and inflammation.

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     It takes two appointments:

  1.  The first appointment an accurate impression of your upper and lower teeth will be made. These impressions are used to create models of how your teeth fit together. A bite record may be taken. These items are used to form a customized heat-processed hard plastic nightguard. 
  2. At the second appointment the final fit of the nightguard will be done and adjustments made.

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   The lifespan of a nightguard is three to ten years. It can protect you from the symptoms of teeth grinding if you wear it regularly which can even lead to a better night’s sleep for you and your partner!

   Nightguard home care guide: Nightguard Home Care

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PLEASE NOTE: The information contained herein is intended for educational purposes only.  It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of dental/medical care and is not a substitute for personal hands on dental/medical attention, diagnosis or treatment.  Persons requiring diagnosis, treatment, or with specific questions are urged to contact your family dental/health care provider for appropriate care.
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