What Happens if You Do Not Get a Night Guard?

Posted by Gregg L Lage DDS Jan 06, 2021

This is a thumbnail image of blog What Happens if You Do Not Get a Night Guard?

A dentist might recommend a night guard to individuals who grind their teeth or clench their jaw. The condition is called bruxism and most people who have it are unaware of their condition. It typically takes a dentist noticing signs of damage to gums, teeth, facial muscles or the jaw. 

A night guard serves as a barrier that separates the upper and lower set of teeth. It cushions the effects of teeth grinding, and it keeps the jaw in the proper position during sleep, easing any stress on the temporomandibular joints.

The consequences of not wearing a night guard as recommended

Most people with bruxism grind their teeth during sleep. It is an involuntary action and night guards can be instrumental when it comes to protecting teeth from the results of this subconscious habit. When a dentist recommends a night guard, it means bruxism has already started causing noticeable damage in the mouth. Not wearing a night guard as recommended can lead to issues like:

1. Cracked teeth

The enamel of the teeth is the strongest part of the body, but it is not designed to deal with the forces generated by teeth grinding regularly. Bruxism is more likely to cause damage to a person's teeth when they have already been weakened by tooth decay.

A severe crack can leave a tooth vulnerable to infection as bacteria make their way into the pulp chamber.

2. Worn-down enamel

The process of bruxism wearing down teeth is known as attrition. It slowly chips away at teeth surfaces and it can lead to shortened or flattened teeth. Attrition can lead to teeth enamel being completely worn down, leaving the dentin exposed. This leaves the tooth more vulnerable to decay and it ruins the appearance of the person's teeth.

Severe attrition typically requires lots of dental work to repair and rebuild damaged teeth. Attrition can be prevented or minimized by wearing a night guard before going to bed.

3. Gum recession

The heavy bite forces generated when grinding teeth can cause microscopic movements of teeth. These movements can affect the way gum tissues attach to teeth surfaces. It can lead to gums receding from these forces, leaving teeth roots exposed. Teeth roots are not protected by enamel, instead, they are covered with cementum which is not as durable. It leaves the roots exposed to decay. It can also lead to increased sensitivity.

Severe gum recession is typically addressed with gum grafting. The key is catching it early and taking preventative measures like wearing a night guard.

4. Headaches

People who grind their teeth often experience chronic headaches, particularly in the mornings. It is caused by the jaw and facial muscles being overworked when the person grinds their teeth during sleep. A night guard can help to prevent these movements, thus reducing headaches. 

Get bruxism under control

Call or visit our Denver clinic if you need a night guard to help manage the damage caused by you grinding your teeth.

Request an appointment here: or call Gregg L Lage DDS, PC at 303-427-4552 for an appointment in our Denver office.

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