Night Guards

Do you have a habit of grinding your teeth while asleep? If so, come see Dr. Linda Hoang for a custom night guard here at Village Center Dentistry. During your visit, we will take a digital scan of your smile to ensure this appliance fits comfortably over your teeth. Give us a call today at 281-693-2880 to schedule an appointment with our dentist and learn more about the benefits of night guards in Katy, Texas.

Your Dentist in Katy, Texas

Our dedicated dentist and team here at Village Center Dentistry are committed to providing you with top-notch oral health care. We understand the importance of a good night’s sleep and the impact it has on your overall health and wellbeing. We are here to be your partners in oral health, providing you with individualized care that not only improves your smile but also your health and quality of life.

What is a Night Guard?

A night guard, also known as an occlusal splint or bite guard, is a dental device designed to protect your teeth from the harmful effects of grinding or clenching your teeth during sleep, a condition known as bruxism. Night guards are typically made from a soft, durable material that fits comfortably over your upper or lower teeth, creating a barrier to prevent the surfaces of your teeth from coming into direct contact with each other.

Types of Night Guards:
There are three main types of night guards, each designed to cater to different dental needs:

  • Soft Night Guards: These night guards are made from a flexible, cushion-like material, providing a comfortable fit for individuals with mild to moderate bruxism. Soft night guards are suitable for those who prefer a more comfortable and less bulky option.
  • Hard Night Guards: Hard night guards are crafted from rigid acrylic materials and offer superior durability and protection. They are recommended for individuals with severe bruxism and provide a more long-lasting solution to tooth grinding or clenching.
  • Dual Laminate Night Guards: Combining the benefits of both soft and hard night guards, dual laminate night guards consist of a soft inner layer for comfort and a hard outer layer for durability. These are often recommended for individuals with moderate to severe bruxism.

When Are Night Guards Recommended?

Dr. Hoang may recommend night guards for a variety of reasons. If you experience any of the following symptoms of conditions, a night guard might be the right solution for you:

  • Bruxism: This condition is characterized by teeth grinding and clenching and can cause significant damage to your teeth and mouth.
  • TMJ Disorders: This condition affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is the joint connecting your jawbone to your skull. A TMJ disorder or TMD, affects your ability to move your jaw comfortably and perform daily actions such as eating, speaking or yawning.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a common condition characterized by the involuntary grinding, clenching or gnashing of teeth, usually during sleep. While occasional teeth grinding may not cause significant harm, chronic bruxism can lead to a range of dental problems and discomfort, such as:

  • Tooth wear: T/*-
    +he continuous grinding can result in the flattening, chipping or cracking of teeth, which may require extensive dental work to repair.
  • Tooth sensitivity: Abrasion of tooth enamel can make your teeth more sensitive to hot or cold temperatures.
  • Jaw pain: Bruxism can cause pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), leading to discomfort and difficulty opening or closing your mouth.
  • Headaches: The strain on your jaw muscles during bruxism can contribute to chronic headaches.
  • Sleep disturbances: Bruxism can disrupt your sleep patterns and that of your partner due to the noise generated by grinding.

Causes of Bruxism
Bruxism can have multiple underlying causes. While teeth grinding and clenching can occur at any time, it most frequently occurs at night, making it difficult to diagnose. However, understanding the cause of bruxism can help our dentist address your bruxism so you can manage it effectively. Common causes of bruxism include:

  • Stress and anxiety – psychological factors are among the leading causes of bruxism. High stress levels can lead to muscle tension in the jaw, which may result in teeth grinding.
  • Sleep disorders – sleep breathing disorders, such as snoring and sleep apnea, may contribute to bruxism as the body attempts to open the airway and the teeth clench or grind together.
  • Misaligned teeth or bite – teeth grinding and clenching can be a natural response to irritation and discomfort caused by dental misalignment.
  • Medications and substances – such as antidepressants, amphetamines, recreational drugs and excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption.
  • Lifestyle factors – lifestyle habits like smoking and alcohol consumption have been associated with increased risk of bruxism.
  • Genetic factors – genetic predisposition may play a role in teeth grinding and clenching.
  • Missing or damaged teeth – dental issues can lead to bruxism as the body attempts to compensate for irregularities in the bite.
  • Neurological factors – this is less common, but neurological conditions affecting the central nervous system can contribute to involuntary teeth grinding.

How Night Guards Help with Bruxism
Night guards provide a simple yet effective solution to protect your teeth from the damaging effects of bruxism. By creating a barrier between your upper and lower teeth, night guards absorb the force of grinding and clenching, preventing wear and tear on your tooth surfaces. They also help relax the jaw muscles, reducing the likelihood of jaw pain and headaches.

What is a TMJ Disorder?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull, allowing for smooth jaw movement during activities such as speaking, chewing and yawning. TMJ disorders, also known as temporomandibular joint disorders, encompass a range of conditions that affect this joint, resulting in pain and discomfort. Common symptoms of TMJ disorders include:

  • Jaw pain or tenderness, especially when chewing or speaking.
  • Clicking, popping or grating noises when moving the jaw.
  • Lockjaw, where the jaw temporarily gets stuck in an open or closed position.
  • Facial pain or headaches.
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

Causes of TMJ Disorders
The causes of TMJ disorders can vary and are often multifactorial. Here are some common factors that contribute to the development of TMJ disorders:

  • Jaw trauma or injury – Physical trauma or injury to the jaw, such as a direct blow or whiplash, can damage the TMJ or surrounding structures. This trauma may lead to the development of TMJ disorders.
  • Teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism) – chronic teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism) exert excessive force on the TMJ. Over time, this pressure can contribute to the development of TMJ disorders, causing pain and dysfunction.
  • Malocclusion (Improper Bite) – an improper bite alignment, known as malocclusion, can strain the TMJ as it tries to compensate for the misalignment. This chronic stress on the joint can lead to TMJ disorders.
  • Arthritis – various forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, can affect the TMJ. Inflammation and degeneration of the joint’s cartilage can result in TMJ disorder symptoms.
  • Stress and muscle tension – elevated stress levels can lead to increased muscle tension, including the muscles around the TMJ. Prolonged muscle tension can contribute to the development or exacerbation of TMJ disorders.
  • Dental procedures – certain dental treatments, such as prolonged dental work or orthodontic procedures that affect the bite, can potentially trigger or worsen TMJ disorders in susceptible individuals.
  • Hormonal factors – hormonal fluctuations, such as those occurring during pregnancy or menopause, may influence the development of TMJ disorders in some individuals. Hormones can affect the joints and surrounding tissues.
  • Genetics – genetic factors may play a role in predisposing some individuals to TMJ disorders. Family history can be a contributing factor, with genetics influencing the structure and function of the TMJ.
  • Parafunctional habits – parafunctional habits, such as excessive gum chewing, nail biting or biting on hard objects, can place additional stress on the TMJ and its associated structures, potentially leading to TMJ disorders.
  • Joint degeneration – age-related wear and tear on the TMJ may lead to a TMJ disorder.

How Night Guards Help with TMJ Disorders
Night guards can be an effective part of the treatment plan for TMJ disorders. They help by:

  • Providing cushioning: Night guards cushion the jaw joint, reducing the impact of clenching and grinding during sleep, which can alleviate TMJ pain.
  • Promoting relaxation: Night guards encourage a more relaxed jaw position, reducing muscle tension and the risk of TMJ symptoms.
  • Preventing further damage: By preventing excessive wear and tear on your teeth, night guards help avoid exacerbating TMJ issues.

How Are Night Guards Made?

The process of creating a custom night guard involves several steps to ensure a comfortable fit and effective protection. Dr. Hoang prioritizes the quality and precision of our night guards. Here is a brief overview of the night guard fabrication process:

  1. Consultation and Evaluation: Your journey to a well-fitted night guard begins with a consultation with our experienced dentist. During this appointment, we will evaluate your dental health, discuss your symptoms and determine if a night guard is the appropriate solution for your needs.
  2. Impressions: If a night guard is recommended, we will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth. Advanced digital technology is used to ensure the most accurate impression possible as well as enhance your comfort. These impressions provide a detailed mold of your dental arch, ensuring a custom fit for your night guard.
  3. Model Creation: The impressions are used to create a plaster model of your teeth. Our dental technicians use this model to design a night guard tailored to your unique dental anatomy.
  4. Material Selection: Based on your specific requirements and the type of night guard recommended, we will select the appropriate material. Soft, hard or dual laminate materials are chosen to ensure your night guard meets your comfort and protection needs.
  5. Night Guard Fabrication: Our skilled dental technicians use the plaster model as a guide to fabricate your custom night guard. Depending on the chosen material, this may involve layering and bonding the materials together to create the final night guard.
  6. Fitting and Adjustments: Once your night guard is ready, you will return to our dental office for a fitting. During this appointment, we will ensure that the night guard fits snugly and comfortably over your teeth. Any necessary adjustments will be made to guarantee a perfect fit.
  7. Maintenance and Care Instructions: Our team will provide you with detailed instructions on how to clean and maintain your night guard to ensure its longevity and effectiveness. Regular cleaning and proper storage are essential to prevent bacterial growth and maintain the night guard’s integrity.
  8. Follow-Up Appointments: To monitor the effectiveness of your night guard and address any concerns or adjustments, we may schedule follow-up appointments. These appointments are crucial to ensure your night guard continues to provide optimal protection and comfort.

Frequently Asked Questions about Night Guards

At Village Center Dentistry, our experienced dentist in Katy, TX understands the importance of protecting your teeth and ensuring a good night’s sleep. That’s why we offer custom night guards to our patients. If you have questions about night guards and how they can benefit you, read on for answers to some frequently asked questions.

What is a night guard?

A night guard is a custom-made dental appliance that is worn during sleep to protect your teeth from grinding and clenching. It is made from a durable, yet comfortable material that cushions your teeth and reduces the pressure on your jaw.

Why should I consider wearing a night guard?

Night guards provide several benefits. Firstly, they protect your teeth from the damaging effects of grinding and clenching, which can lead to tooth wear, chips, and fractures. Additionally, night guards alleviate jaw pain, headaches, and facial muscle soreness that can result from excessive teeth grinding. By wearing a night guard, you can safeguard your oral health and improve your overall quality of sleep.

How is a night guard made?

At Village Center Dentistry, we make custom night guards that are specifically tailored to fit your mouth. Our dentist will take impressions of your teeth, which are then sent to the dental lab to fabricate your night guard. Once it is ready, we will ensure it fits properly and provide you with instructions on how to wear and care for it.

How long do night guards last?

The lifespan of a night guard varies depending on how well it is cared for and the severity of teeth grinding. On average, a well-maintained night guard can last between 2 to 5 years. We recommend bringing your night guard to your regular dental check-ups so that our dentist can assess its condition and determine if it needs any adjustments or replacement.

Can I wear my night guard during the day?

Night guards are designed for nighttime use, as they provide optimal protection during sleep. Wearing your night guard during the day may interfere with your ability to speak and eat comfortably. If you require additional teeth protection during the day, our dentist will be happy to discuss alternative options with you.

How do I know if I need a night guard?

If you frequently wake up with headaches, jaw pain, or notice signs of teeth grinding such as worn-down teeth or chipped enamel, it is likely that you could benefit from a night guard. However, the best way to determine if a night guard is right for you is to schedule a consultation with our dentist. She will assess your situation, discuss your symptoms, and provide you with personalized recommendations.

Ready to protect your teeth and improve your sleep? Schedule an appointment with the experienced dentist at Village Center Dentistry. We will help you determine if a night guard is the right solution for you and guide you through the process of obtaining a custom-made night guard. Take the first step towards a healthy smile by contacting us today.

Schedule An Appointment

A good night’s sleep is essential for your physical and mental health and a custom night guard can play a significant role in ensuring you wake up refreshed and free from dental discomfort. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our skilled dentist and take the first step towards better oral health and a more restful sleep.