A night guard, also known as a dental mouth guard or a bite guard, is an appliance prescribed to patients to treat teeth grinding (bruxism). In general, it protects the teeth and other vital structures by offering a protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth.
The effects of bruxism or night grinding include tooth destruction and joint pain. Constant grinding and clenching will produce wear facets on the teeth, and when much of the structure is lost, vital tissues may be exposed. The exposed layers of the teeth can cause sensitivity and nerve damage, causing you to need a root canal. When the problem is allowed to progress, much of the tooth surface is lost so that the bite collapses, and the temporomandibular joint is left to endure the damage. A patient with prolonged night grinding habits will experience symptoms that lead to TMJ disorder.
A dental mouth guard is a simple, conservative, and relatively inexpensive appliance that can effectively protect the layers of the teeth and prevent future damage to the oral cavity and supporting tissue.
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