Teeth Grinding and Dental Nightguards

Protect your teeth and treat jaw pain caused by unconscious grinding or clenching with a Dental Nightguard.

A nightguard (or mouthguard) is a custom-made device that fits over your teeth and protects them from the effects of constant grinding. So many of us grind our teeth, either during the daytime - as a response to frustration or stress - or more commonly, at night while we sleep and are unaware of it (a condition known as ‘bruxism’). When done from time-to-time tooth grinding won’t generally cause an issue, however the habit developing continuously means it will put your teeth under tremendous stress and pressure, over time wearing down the enamel of your teeth and leading to chipping or even fracture, common persistent headaches or pain of the teeth, jaw, and lower face. 

Wearing a nightguard helps to protect the enamel of your teeth by acting like a shock absorber, counteracting those biting forces on your teeth and jaw muscles, while also aiming to disrupt and deter the unconscious grinding motion itself.

Benefits of Wearing a Dental Nightguard

Benefits of Wearing a Dental Nightguard

  • Protect the enamel surface of your teeth from eventual chipping or fracture 
  • Maintain the natural length of your teeth which enhances your smile 
  • Help to treat the jaw pain and headaches associated with bruxism 
  • Ease the overworked muscles of the face by disrupting night-time grinding
  • Protect your new dental restorations such as veneers and crowns from breakage

What to Expect When Getting a Nightguard

What to Expect When Getting a Nightguard

The procedure 

Having a nightguard made is a straightforward procedure, whether at the end of a full treatment plan - to prolong the lifetime of your dental procedure or restoration - or as a standalone consultation. At Truly Dental your dentist will always take the time to carry out a full examination of your teeth, gums, and jaw, to ensure that there are no present issues to assess regarding the grinding or clenching that brought you in. They will also address any questions or concerns that you have at this time.  

Since your nightguard is custom-made to fit your mouth and bite exactly, your dentist will first take an impression of your teeth. This digital record is then sent to our dental lab off-site to be fabricated by an experienced dental technician.

Usually, your new nightguard will take 2 to 3 weeks to be made, after which an appointment will be scheduled for you to return to the clinic to be shown how to place your nightguard securely, and your dentist will also instruct you on how to properly care for it. 

Questions? Answers

What is bruxism?

Bruxism is the involuntary grinding or clenching of the teeth, sometimes done as a force of habit unconsciously during the day or when stressed, but more typically occurring during sleep. Bruxism is common in young children, and usually goes away on its own by adulthood, however in some cases it can remain, and steps need to be taken to protect your teeth and jaw from the effects of bruxism. 

While it is not known precisely what causes bruxism, it is a relatively common condition, and it is quite possible for a patient to grind their teeth at night and be unaware of it. During your 6-month dental check-up, your dentist will always examine your teeth for evidence of excessive grinding. 

Why do I need a nightguard?

Many of us grind our teeth while we sleep, often without realising it. While infrequent grinding or clenching is unlikely to cause any harm in the long term, grinding while asleep makes it nearly impossible to disrupt the habit and prevent it having serious consequences for our oral health over time.

Prolonged, heavy grinding puts our teeth under great stress, and can lead to pain or discomfort of the jaw or facial muscles, chronic headaches, and even breakage of the natural teeth or dental restorations. If you suffer from bruxism (this unconscious habit of grinding your teeth while asleep) your dentist may advise you to have a custom-fit nightguard made, to absorb the forces generated by grinding and so prevent future jaw and tooth pain and damage 

Is there anything that makes grinding worse?

While the exact causes of night-time teeth grinding are not always clear, there are a number of factors that may contribute to bruxism and may trigger you to grind and clench your teeth unconsciously more than normal: 

  • Increased or persistent stress or anxiety
  • Certain medical conditions, such as sleep apnea
  • Excess caffeine intake and the use of tobacco
  • Disruption to sleeping patterns by alcohol or drug use 
  • A poor bite – misalignment of the jaw has been thought to be linked to increased instances of bruxism. Your dentist will be happy to discuss potential straightening solutions at any time with you, such as conventional braces, 6-month braces or the Invisalign system
  • Similarly, having multiple missing teeth can contribute to alignment issues with a patient’s bite – solutions to fill a space left by a missing tooth or teeth include dental implants, bridges, or dentures
What problems can teeth grinding cause?

In severe cases or when the condition has been allowed to continue unchecked for many years, teeth grinding can lead to a number of issues impacting both a patient’s overall oral health and quality of life: 

  • Pain in the jaw, teeth and facial muscles, including in some cases persistent headaches 
  • Disrupted sleep, both due to the associated discomfort and noise of teeth grinding, and common co-morbidity of bruxism alongside other sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or chronic snoring
  • Wearing down of the outer enamel of the teeth, eventually leading to cracking or breakage 
  • Damage caused by increased wear leading to shortened teeth, affecting the uniform biting surface of your teeth and appearance of your smile
  • Cracking or even fracture of any dental restorations (such as crowns or veneers)
Can I just get a nightguard from my pharmacy or online?

The nightguards you can buy directly without a dentist consultation are designed to have the broadest fit possible, and so are often poorly fitting for the individual and won’t protect your teeth to the same degree as will a custom-made nightguard designed especially for your mouth. 

Is a mouthguard uncomfortable to wear?

No, a mouthguard is not uncomfortable to wear, being designed to fit snugly and securely to your teeth, with a cushioned top layer where it meets the roof of your mouth.  However, most people will take a day or two from first application at night to get used to wearing their mouthguard falling asleep. 

How long will my nightguard last?

With proper care and maintenance, you can expect your nightguard to last for 1 to 2 years of continuous, daily use. Once your nightguard begins to show signs of wear you should think about getting it replaced to maintain its full benefit to your teeth and sleep. 

Will a nightguard help severe pain from grinding?

A nightguard is a very effective, risk-free method of combating the pain and consequences of teeth grinding, and is usually the first treatment your dentist will recommend to help prevent jaw or face pain associated with bruxism. 

However, if your pain continues even with consistent use of your mouthguard, or if your discomfort is very severe, your dentist may recommend that you have anti-wrinkle injection treatment (Botox treatment) into some of your more active facial muscles. Although this treatment is also available as a cosmetic procedure, when used medicinally a lesser amount of the injection is used than when utilised to alter the appearance of the face, but its application can still relax your over-worked facial muscles. Following the treatment, the muscles cannot then generate as much force, so he pressure applied to your teeth and jaw from clenching will be greatly reduced, in turn decreasing the pain, discomfort, and related issues caused. 

Depending on the severity of your pain from persistent teeth grinding that is not relieved by a nightguard, you may need to have this treatment carried out between 2 to 4 times per year.

How much does a nightguard cost?

At Truly Dental a consultation and fitting of a nightguard costs €150.  

If your grinding habit is more severe your dentist may recommend a more advanced type of nightguard called a Michigan Splint which starts at €450. 

Whether you know you suffer with grinding your teeth at night, or need to see a dentist about unexplained jaw pain, headaches, or worn and damaged teeth...

Call (0)1 525 2670 or book your initial consultation and be fitted for your new, custom-made Dental Nightguard today

Book online