Night Guards for Teeth Grinding and Clenching
Custom night guards and sleep apnea appliances are both coverings that fit over your teeth while you sleep. They are used to treat conditions such as teeth grinding (bruxism), teeth clenching, and obstructive sleep apnea.
Night guards for teeth grinding help to prevent damage to your teeth and jaw. When you grind your teeth, the enamel on the teeth begins to wear down. This can make you more susceptible to tooth decay, fractures, cracks, loose teeth, and weakened teeth.
Grinding your teeth may also damage the jawbone and put excessive stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Other patients may develop headaches from grinding their teeth at night.
Night guards fit over your teeth, similar to how Invisalign trays fit over the tops and lower arches of teeth. The night guard functions as a cushion or buffer that prevents your top teeth from meeting your bottom teeth.
Oral Appliances for Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea affects millions of people in the U.S. Obstructive sleep apnea is the name for the condition where muscles in the throat relax while you’re sleeping. This causes restricted airflow and can cause patients to stop breathing or take long pauses in breaths before gasping for air.
Sleep apnea has been linked to an increased risk for potentially life-threatening conditions such as heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, and other heart arrhythmias.
Patients with obstructive sleep apnea who get a custom oral appliance from their dentist may also notice benefits such as feeling less tired during the day, improved concentration and reduced snoring.
Custom oral appliances for obstructive sleep apnea work by repositioning your lower jaw forward. This creates the space your tongue needs so that it does not obstruct your airway when you sleep.
Frequently Asked Questions About Nightguards and Sleep Apnea Oral Appliances
Are night guards uncomfortable?
No. They are custom-made to fit your mouth. They do not apply any force or pressure. When you first begin wearing your night guard, it may feel unusual, but painless.
Do oral appliances work for all types of sleep apnea?
No. Oral appliances are used for obstructive sleep apnea treatment. Other forms of sleep apnea may require other treatments and devices provided by a sleep specialist.
Why do I grind my teeth?
Teeth grinding may be due to an alignment issue. It may also be triggered by stress or anxiety.