Nightguards in Houston, TX

Do you suffer from frequent headaches or migraines, especially in the morning? Do your teeth feel tender or sensitive when you bite or chew your food? Are your teeth becoming worn or fractured? Did you know all of these symptoms could be the result of clenching or grinding your teeth, which is also called bruxism? 

A nighttime clenching and grinding habit can negatively impact your life in many ways. From sensitive teeth and gums to facial pain and headaches, people who suffer from bruxism experience chronic pain, fatigue, and they often have wear or damage to their teeth. If your teeth become worn or broken due to bruxism, it can result in the need for costly repairs to restore your teeth and bite to correct working order.

At Bear Creek Dentistry, we help our patients regain a good quality of life by providing oral appliance solutions for nighttime habits such as teeth grinding and snoring. If you think you might be suffering from bruxism, we encourage you to contact our Houston dental office at (832) 427-5505 to schedule an evaluation with one of our dentists.

Bruxism and TMD

Bruxism can often result in painful issues with your jaw joint, or a condition known as TMD. If you suffer from TMD, you might experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Popping or clicking when your jaw opens or closes
  • Earaches or ringing in your ears
  • Neck or shoulder pain
  • Chronic headaches or migraines
  • Teeth that are worn or cracked from grinding
  • Pain when yawning or chewing

TMD can be a very painful condition that dramatically affects your quality of life. The good news is that there are solutions to help you reclaim your health. Nightguards are actually one way that your Houston dentist helps patients successfully manage TMD.

The Difference Between TMJ and TMD

You may have heard both of the terms TMJ and TMD used to describe problems with the jaw joint. The truth is, these terms mean different things.

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the joint in your jaw that is responsible for helping you open and close your mouth and eat and chew your food. This complex joint can move side to side, up and down, and back to front on a sliding hinge.

TMD stands for a temporomandibular joint disorder, which is the condition you suffer from if your jaw joint is not functioning correctly. You may experience pain or other symptoms from TMD that can be very debilitating.

Nightguards to Protect Your Smile

Clenching and grinding your teeth can destroy your smile. Worn, cracked, and chipped teeth are often the consequence of long-term teeth grinding. Damaged teeth can lead to TMD, so by creating a custom oral appliance called a nightguard, our dentists can provide you with relief from many symptoms and even help you avoid tooth loss or severe damage.

Our custom nightguards have many advantages over the ones you find at the pharmacy. They fit snugly because they are customized specifically for your teeth, meaning they're comfortable to wear and they stay put while you sleep. They also allow your jaw to return to a comfortable position that promotes the relaxation of your jaw joint, face, and neck muscles. They also provide a sturdy protective barrier between your upper and lower teeth so you can avoid nocturnal damage to your teeth.

We take an accurate impression and a bite registration to ensure a proper fit. We send that to our dental lab, along with data about your bite and jaw function, so that they can make the perfect nightguard for you. Once you have your night guard, it is a good idea to bring it into our office periodically during your routine cleanings and checkups to have it checked for a good fit and to repair any damage.

Snore Guards

Patients who have trouble with chronic snoring at night may also benefit from a nightguard. Snoring can be a problem that affects both you and your bed partner. Since your nightguard slightly changes the position of your jaw while you sleep, it can also open your airway for clear breathing, which helps to reduce and eliminate snoring.

A Word About Chronic Snoring

It's important to note that loud, chronic snoring can also be the sign of a bigger problem. Loud snoring that keeps your partner awake at night is also a telltale sign of a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. This disorder causes you to stop breathing during the night due to an obstructed airway, which in turn can wake you up multiple times during the night. People suffering from sleep apnea are typically not getting the restful sleep at night that their body needs to rejuvenate.

Not everyone who snores suffers from sleep apnea, and for some patients, a nightguard alleviates the problem while also protecting their teeth from the damage caused by bruxism. However, if you think that you or a loved one might be suffering from sleep apnea, it's important to discuss your concerns with your Houston dentist and your general physician to ensure that you receive proper treatment.

Nightguards and Dental Insurance

Many patients wonder if their dental insurance will cover a night guard in Houston, TX. A lot of dental insurance plans do provide some coverage for nightguards, which will help reduce your out-of-pocket cost for the appliance. Because each dental insurance plan is unique, our treatment coordinator is happy to research your particular benefits to find out if there's any coverage for your night guard.

When considering a nightguard to protect your teeth, you also have to weigh the long-term benefits that the appliance provides against the cost. If you are damaging your teeth due to clenching and grinding, you may be looking at having to pay for dental fillings or tooth crowns to repair them. These procedures can also add up over time, and your nightguard may protect you from having those expenses in the long run.

Our treatment coordinator is happy to discuss all of your options with you and help you determine how to fit a nightguard into your budget if you and your dentist determine that it's the best treatment for your needs.

Is Your Nightguard Enough Protection?

In some cases, bruxism might be caused by malocclusion or a bite that doesn't fit together correctly due to misaligned or crooked teeth. If this is the situation you are in, orthodontic treatment to correct your bite and properly align your teeth is often the best treatment option. 

Fortunately, Dr. Bryan Le can offer comprehensive orthodontic treatment utilizing both traditional and clear braces to patients in Houston, TX. Straightening your teeth and correcting your bite often alleviates TMD problems, including clenching and grinding your teeth.

Contact Us to Learn More about Oral Appliance Therapy

As a non-invasive form of prevention, dental appliances can make the lives of our patients better by protecting their health, teeth, smiles, and appearance. Call our Houston, TX dental office today at (832) 427-5505 to learn more about how we can help you protect your smile and get a better night’s sleep.