Should I Get a Night Guard If I Only Grind My Teeth When I'm Stressed Out?

Should I Get a Night Guard If I Only Grind My Teeth When I'm Stressed Out?

The Brux Doc The Brux Doc
5 minute read

Have you ever watched someone with a serious teeth grinding problem sleep? Sometimes it hurts just to hear the sounds that come from their mouth. A night guard is clearly a necessity in such cases, otherwise, that person might wind up with a chipped tooth.  But, if your teeth grinding issues are not that serious or obvious, it is easy to think that a night guard is not necessary. And maybe it is. If you truly grind your teeth very little, you probably do not want to deal with having to wear a night guard all the time.

However, you also do not want to find yourself surprised by all the damage you can do to your teeth over the long term. So, here are three questions you can answer to help figure out of a night guard is right for you.

1. How often do you catch yourself carrying tension in your jaw?

This question mainly applies to your waking hours because that is the time you will have the chance of realizing you are clenching your jaw or lightly grinding your teeth. If you cannot think of the last time you caught yourself rubbing your teeth together or tensing your jaw muscles, you are probably just fine without a night guard.

But, if you have found yourself exhibiting signs of tension in your jaw, there is a good chance you are grinding your teeth during sleep more than you think. Signs that you carry tension in your jaw include headaches that originate near your ears or temples, tenderness or soreness along the sides of your neck, clicking or popping in your jaw joint, pain in your inner ear that is not related to an infection, and soreness in the jaw itself.

2. Do you notice signs of wear on your teeth?

Teeth grinding can wear your teeth down slowly. So, it can be hard to notice the damage. One way to check it is to ask your dentist for his or her opinion. Dentists see a lot of teeth and know how to spot signs that your enamel is getting damaged by unnecessary trauma or abrasion.

If you want to check for yourself, you will need a small dental mirror and a light. Look for flat edges around the tops of the teeth and shallowing valleys in the teeth. If your teeth are experiencing regular, though mild, trauma as a result of teeth grinding, you may also find that they have become more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures. An increase in tooth sensitivity is a good indicator that you need to protect your teeth.

3. How is your bone density?

As you age, you lose bone density, sometimes so much so that bones (including teeth) become quite brittle and break easily. Post-menopausal women can experience a significant drop-off in bone density, but men are not immune to the risks of osteoporosis (the medical term for low bone density) either. Not only can low bone density impact your spine and posture and put you at greater risk of broken bones it also increases your chance of chipping or cracking a tooth.

So, if you know or suspect that you have lost bone density, you will want to protect your teeth with a night guard even if your teeth grinding is fairly mild. Save those precious pearly whites and avoid a visit to the dentist.

If you are unsure whether or not you have lost significant bone density, you can ask your doctor to order a test – done via an x-ray or CT scan.

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What do your answers tell you?

Maybe you do carry a lot of tension in your jaw when you are stressed and you find yourself grinding your teeth during that time, but those stressful periods only crop up every couple of months and you have good bone density and no signs of wear. You are probably all right going without a night guard.

However, if one of those variables changes, you will want to reconsider. If you find out you have low bone density, you will want to take extra precautions, like a night guard. Or, if you find your teeth show signs of wear, you will want to do all you can to prevent that from becoming worse.

If you have decided a night guard is the right choice for you, visit TeethNightGuard.com to order yourself a custom-made night guard that will make your transition to wearing a guard as seamless as possible. Night guards can be hard to get used to at first, but they are much easier to wear when they fit well. We recommend starting with a soft, flexible plastic night guard that won’t feel too foreign or bulky in your mouth.

You can order a custom night guard through your dentist or save yourself money by ordering straight from TeethNightGuard.  With TeethNightGuard, you will make your own impression of your mouth with our simple kit, and then we will handcraft your night guard to give you the perfect fit.

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