An abfraction is a notch or interruption in the shape of the tooth close to the gum line. These can be caused by bruxism (grinding of the teeth) or brushing too harshly. Brushing can be modified quickly but bruxism takes a little more work. That’s where a Night Guard comes in.
A Night Guard is like a tooth shield that you wear when you go to sleep. They are technically known as maxillary or mandibular nocturnal para-functional limiting devices, occlusal appliances and orthotics. For the purposes of this post, let’s call them Night Guard.
A Night Guard is like a shield that is specially molded to fit your teeth exactly. As the teeth are clenched during the night, they wear on each other, thinning and reducing the protective enamel. If left untreated, the wear will increase, exposing the interior of the teeth and gradually wearing them down. This can lead to an increased level of infection, discomfort and worn teeth.
A Night Guard places itself between upper and lower teeth and acts as a buffer to prevent this wear. It also lowers the risk of abfractions along the gum line.
Teeth that are put under stress can also crack. The wear reduces protective enamel and can provide pockets within the tooth that can play host to bacteria, increasing the risk of infection.
A useful side effect of Night Guard is muscle relaxation. Habitual flexing of the jaw muscles during sleep is interrupted when using a Night Guard. The mouth cannot close fully, keeping the muscle slightly outside its comfort zone where it would normally begin contracting. For some reason, when kept slightly out of position, the flexing stops, reducing muscle fatigue, bone damage and the negative effectives of TMJ.
A Night Guard is made to fit your teeth here at Aesthetic Family Dentistry. Getting the fit exactly right ensures maximum comfort and minimum movement. This helps you feel right at home with the guard and helps you adjust quickly to using it. The material is purposely hard to avoid triggering the chew instinct and to provide maximum protection for the teeth.
You can buy mouth guards off the shelf in sports stores and drug stores but we would not recommend their use overnight. They use a ‘general fit’ for maximum compatibility rather than an exact fit. They may be cheaper and more readily available but they could do more harm than good!
A properly customized Night Guard is the best way to help prevent tooth wear, bruxism and abfractions. Contact Aesthetic Family Dentistry today to schedule a consultation to discuss Night Guard and how it could help you.