Not All Nightguards Are Created Equal
The Importance of Nightguards
Any time teeth are wearing against each other, it’s a big problem. Not just for the health of your teeth, but also for your jaw and facial muscles.
Causes of TMJ, clenching or grinding
Stress from life, misalignments in your body, and having your head down looking at screens cause jaw muscles to tighten. When the jaw muscles are tight, you close too tightly and wear down your teeth. A nightguard is a helpful solution to keep your teeth healthy and your jaw muscles more relaxed.
Read below about significant differences in nightguard quality. Also, learn why quality is vital to your oral health.
1) If someone needs a Nightguard but does not get one – what are the consequences?
Consequences are worn teeth, tooth mobility, cracks in the teeth, gum recession, and stress on the internal working of the jaw joint, and the tendons and muscles that guide and function the jaw. It can result in muscle tension, neck and facial soreness, and possible tooth loss.
2) Are all Nightguards created equal?
Nightguards are not created equal. The precision and quality of materials used in the lab creating them matters. Another significant factor is the precision and attention to detail of the dentist’s office adjustments of the nightguard. Depending on adjustments, it might help to balance the jaw or hinder balance, which will cause jaw tension to continue.
3) What are some ways that labs and dentist take shortcuts when making a Nightguard?
Shortcuts that some labs take are generalized construction instead of custom fitting or low-quality materials. Other shortcuts a dentist office might make are poor patient instructions and quick, imprecise adjustments. Everybody’s hinge and landing point are different, so it’s vital the adjustments are perfect for aligning these two.
Some labs make hybrid nightguards (hard surface layer and soft interior layer). The problem with these hybrids is that the hard exterior can be adjusted for proper alignment, but the inner surface is soft and that shifts over time. This soft inner surface doesn’t allow for consistency in alignment the way a fully rigid interior and exterior does. Our nightguards don’t vary in alignment because the hard surfaces all stay consistently aligned for a proper fit for long term benefits.
It takes our office extra time to adjust our nightguards, because we do not use hybrid nightguards. We find it worth it to provide a nightguard that is going to be the most functional for the longest time.
4) What kind of problems and risks does it create when a short cut is taken?
Anything covering the teeth is protection of teeth wearing against each other when appropriately done risks aren’t there. Poor nightguards create a persistent imbalance of jaw function, which is the problem we are trying to fix. It has to be balanced because if it’s not, it exacerbates the jaw imbalance. Hard material (like a quality dental nightguard) is balanced; soft one (like drug store nightguards) only protect teeth erosion but can lead to jaw, muscle, tendon strain.
5) What are the benefits of having a well-trained lab fabricate your Nightguard?
The benefits are excellent, solid, quality material adjusted to balance the jaw, protect teeth, reduce muscle restrictions/strain, and unload pressures of the bite. Many patients report sleeping better at night and jaw issues resolved during the day. The most significant factor comes from the fact the PSI of your bite is 2-5 times your body weight crushing on the back teeth. When it’s properly balanced, this evenly distributes that weight of clenching at night.
6) How many adjustments does it take to have a well-balanced Nightguard?
In many cases, at least two, but sometimes more are needed for the perfect fit.
7) What kinds of problems do you see with low-quality Nightguards?
Low quality offers minimal protection, no balance, and potential resistance with jaw muscles. Muscles resistance increases their strain. The ideal jaw position is lips together and teeth apart, a relaxed jaw.
8) What about over-the-counter Nightguards – are they helpful at all since they are so inexpensive?
Anything between teeth will help with teeth wear, but jaw balance and muscle strain will only get worse.
9) What about NTI appliances – how come they are made so often for patients? Do they help?
NTI, Neurotransmitter Interrupter, appliances were developed for the episodal treatment of migraines. Nerves are components in migraines. If a patient has a migraine, an NTI will deprogram the nerves and migraines are relieved. An NTI type small covering of teeth only helps nerves, and the jaw remains imbalanced.
The uncovered portion of teeth will wobble at night, and this will do nothing to help jaw tension. The ideal is full coverage- hitting all teeth at the same time, so it is stable, not wobbly. You want a solid endpoint closure at the back of the jaw, with the freedom to move jaw as needed. A well crafted and adjusted nightguard will do this for you. It will help resolve both jaw tension and nerve pain resulting in migraines.