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What is a Night Guard for Teeth?

What is a Night Guard for Teeth?

Have you been told that you grind your teeth in your sleep? Do you suffer from chronic headaches or jaw pain because you clench your teeth? If so, a custom night guard might be the answer to help with your teeth grinding when you’re sleeping.

Bruxism is the medical term for grinding or clenching your teeth and jaws. Grinding refers to moving the jaw back and forth. Clenching refers to biting down with excessive force for long periods of time. Bruxism is a common condition and normally occurs during sleep or times of stress. Many people do not even know that they grind their teeth in their sleep until they are told by their sleep partner or dentist.

Over time, grinding teeth in sleep causes extensive damage to the structure and enamel of the teeth, which can lead to decay and increased sensitivity. It can also cause headaches, disrupt your sleep, and cause pain in the jaw, face, and neck.

Why should I get a professionally-made night guard as opposed to one from the store/online?

Night guards that are purchased at pharmacies, online or at sporting goods stores are almost always one-size-fits all. They are not created to precisely accommodate the specific anatomy of a patient’s unique teeth shape, bite and jaw position. This can potentially be harmful and far less comfortable than one that is custom made. More importantly, use of any oral appliances requires careful monitoring by a trained clinician to prevent and minimize the risk for permanent shifts in the teeth, bite, or jaw position.

Will insurance cover the cost of a mouth guard or night guard?

Many insurance plans will cover a portion of the cost of an oral appliance that is medically-necessary, or some dental insurances will cover appliances needed to protect teeth from bruxism. In order to determine if your specific plan offers coverage, we recommend directly inquiring with your insurance plan administrator.

Ignoring your bruxism symptoms can lead to serious dental issues requiring expensive treatments. For example, bruxism is a leading cause of root canals. Individuals who grind their teeth can experience up to 2 millimeters of enamel erosion by their 20s, which increases the risk for cavities. Jaw clenching can subject the jaw and teeth to as much as 40 minutes of massive force per hour, which can set the stage for jaw and muscle pain.

Dr. Nojan Bakhtiari is a board-certified TMJ and Oral Facial Pain specialist. He focuses his practice on TMJ disorders, oral pain, facial pain and associated headaches. He treats patients in New York City. His practive is convenintly located in midtown Manhattan by Grand Central Terminal and Bryant Park.

Dr. Nojan shares his in-depth knowledge of TMJ and facial pain as professor at Columbia University and Columbia University’s Medical Center. He is one of very few diplomates of the American Board of Orofacial Pain and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain.

As an expert in the field, he has been invited to lecture at New York University, New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, New York State Dental Association, and numerous dental societies and conferences.

Dr. Nojan was in charge of the Orofacial Pain and TMJ Disorders service at Yale-New Haven from 2015-2020. He is a past professor of Orofacial Pain & TMJ at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, where he led the clinical service and academic curricula for the entire university and residency programs.