Houston, TX Dentist Shares Signs You May Need a Dental Nightguard

Dental nightguards are designed to protect your teeth in your sleep—a time during which many people unwittingly cause damage to their teeth. There are different options for nightguards, but each has one goal in mind—to prevent the adverse effects you cannot control. If you are unsure whether a dental night guard might be a good thing for you, consider these possible signs that it is time to invest in one. 
 
Morning Headaches
 
Headaches in the morning are often a sign of TMJ—a disease that affects the proper functioning of the jaw joint. TMJ headaches are very often localized to the sides of the head and extend downward into the jaw and potentially along the sides of the face. 
 
These headaches occur when the muscles that control opening and closing remain tightly tensed throughout the night, essentially keeping the jaw clenched tight. Not only can a night guard help alleviate these kinds of headaches; they can protect the teeth from the secondary damage incurred from nighttime clenching. 
 
Worn Down Teeth
 
Identifying whether or not your teeth have been worn down is not as easy as identifying a morning headache, but there are still ways to do a rudimentary self-diagnosis. If you feel as though you clench or grind your teeth, stand in front of a mirror and open wide. Pay close attention to your back teeth—these are often the most susceptible to grinding. If you see what appear to be small holes or divots in your teeth, these may be “wear facets,” a sign that your teeth are putting undue stress on one another. This can eventually lead to weaker teeth and potentially broken teeth. A dental night guard can help prevent this from happening and halt the damage that is being done. 
 
Grinding of Teeth
 
Often times, a spouse or significant other is the first to notice that you are grinding or clenching in your sleep. Moderate to severe grinding can often times cause audible sounds, so loud that they can keep a bedmate awake. If your significant other reports these strange noises, it is safe to say you are probably causing damage to your teeth in your sleep, a sure sign that it’s time for a night guard. 
 
The good news is that any damage done by grinding or clenching can, at the very least, be halted. Furthermore, a dental night guard might actually help you sleep better by keeping your jaw in a more comfortable position and relieving some of the tension on your muscles. 
 
Ready to schedule a consultation with a leading Houston, TX dentist? River Oaks Dental can be reached at (713) 523-6641.
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