Custom nightguards are prescribed by our Sacramento dentists when a patient shows signs of dental bruxism, the medical term for teeth grinding. Many people grind their teeth at night, due to different potential causes. Whether chronic or related to a specific circumstance, a nightguard prevents damage to the teeth by either calming the bruxism or by simply protecting the teeth from their opposite neighbors. If a nightguard has a hole in it, what should you do and what does it mean?
There’s a Hole in the Nightguard
An old folk song talks about a hole in a bucket. And it goes like this:
“There’s a hole in the bucket.”
“Then fix it, my darling.”
That pretty much sums up what you need to do when your nightguard develops a hole. You need a replacement, because the hole will obviously just get bigger. It also tells our dentists something about your sleeptime behavior. The grinding is very pronounced and additional steps may need to be taken to control it. Many of our clients can wear a nightguard for years without destroying it.
Patients that don’t control bruxism, either with a nightguard or other therapies, do actually wear down or break their teeth. Our dental team actually sees the signs of wear from untreated teeth grinding on a regular basis. Patients that avoid treating it actually end up with no molars! Replacement with dental implants or crowns is a poor option, because the tooth grinder damages those even more quickly than the natural teeth. The best option is control, and the first step is a working nightguard. So if yours has a hole, get it replaced as soon as possible.
Maintain Your Nightguard
A nightguard should be regularly cleaned, a process described elsewhere on our website. Equally important is to bring your nightguard (or mouthguard) to every semi-annual cleaning at the Sacramento Dentistry Group. We professionally clean nightguards ultrasonically to remove bacteria and accumulated tartar. Much like your teeth, a nightguard collects bacterial deposits over time and a regular professional cleaning removes these and helps it last longer.