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Night Guard Specialist

Grinding teeth at night or clenching the jaw while sleeping can cause soreness. These actions can also lead to tooth damage over time. Night guards offer a convenient method of stopping grinding and clenching from occurring during sleep. At Los Altos Dental, Dr. Bonnie Bateman offers custom-fit night guards for patients in Long Beach, California who grind their teeth or clench their jaw at night.

Night Guard Q & A

What are night guards?
Night guards are devices worn in the mouth during the night. These protective devices stop the wearer’s jaws from clenching or grinding while they’re asleep. Teeth grinding usually develops from underlying issues, such as problems with jaw alignment or stress. Since most grinding and clenching occurs during sleep, patients typically can’t control these actions on their own.

When should patients consider getting a night guard?
Patients with teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, should consider getting a night guard to prevent this from happening. Although many patients aren’t aware that they grind their teeth, they might be diagnosed with this condition based on reported symptoms, such as waking up with a sore jaw, having tooth damage, getting frequent headaches, and experiencing neck pain. In some cases, patients also develop temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) from teeth grinding.

What kinds of night guards are available?
Patients will find different kinds of night guards to choose from. These include store-bought ones and custom-made ones. Store-bought night guards are easy to get, but they don’t offer a high amount of relief from symptoms of teeth grinding. Since they’re not custom-made, they might also be uncomfortable to wear during the night. Custom-made night guards, which are made from the patient’s dental impressions, provide a comfortable and secure fit, along with greater relief.

How can patients choose the right kind of night guard?
Choosing the right kind of night guard is important in order to ensure that patients experience as much relief as possible from teeth grinding symptoms. In general, custom-made night guards are a better choice than store-bought ones. Patients who choose a custom-made night guard can expect to have dental impressions taken. When their night guard is ready, Dr. Bateman makes sure that it fits comfortably and makes adjustments as needed.

Do night guards work effectively?
When night guards fit securely and comfortably in a patient’s mouth, they’re effective at stopping bruxism from happening during the night. Those who have this condition should seek care for underlying problems that cause it, such as having jaw misalignments corrected.