It is estimated that about 60% of the population grind or clench their teeth when they sleep. This can cause many problems including pain in the jaw joint (TMJ), tension headaches, migraine headaches, loss of enamel, jaw muscle soreness and painful and sensitive teeth. An extremely effective treatment is nightguard therapy. There are several types of nightguards but they all employ the same basic concept. An acrylic appliance is custom made and worn at night while the patient sleeps. This does two things. First, it opens the bite slightly and stretches the muscles used to bite down, this in turn relaxes the muscles reducing the biting force. Secondly, because the teeth are not contacting each other they are protected from excessive wear.
There are two types of nightguards that we make in our office. The first is called and NTI. It is a small piece of acrylic that is fitted to the front teeth. This type of nightguard virtually eliminates any symptoms associated with grinding and is more effective in eliminating headaches because it inactivates the temporalis muscles (muscle in the temporal region of your head just above your ears) that is most implicated in tension headaches.