Rethinking Dental Night Guards: Dr. Randi Green's Advanced Sleep Solution

The Evolution of Dental Guards: How Modern Technology is Changing the Game

Dental guards are a common remedy for grinding or clenching teeth during sleep. However, as we understand more about oral health, it's clear that there are better choices than traditional night guards. 

Dr. Randi Green, an expert in physiologic-based dentistry, explains why these guards might fall short and how her innovative approach, focusing on muscle measurement and bite alignment using dental technology, offers a better solution for her guests in Springfield, Missouri.

Why Traditional Night Guards Can Be Problematic

Traditional night guards act as a barrier between your teeth, aiming to prevent teeth grinding. But they can have downsides. Dr. Green points out these issues:

  • No Muscle Measurement: Often made without measuring muscle rest positions, traditional night guards might not tackle the real causes of teeth grinding.
  • Jaw Misalignment: Some guards can push the jaw back, harming the temporomandibular joints (TMJ), muscles, and airway.
  • Airway Issues: Guards worn on the upper teeth can limit tongue space, potentially worsening breathing problems at night, especially for sleep apnea sufferers.
  • More Muscle Activity: Ironically, these guards can cause more muscle activity, leading to daytime clenching and extra teeth stress.

Dr. Green sees and hears from her patients after trying many guards that don't work, which include over-the-counter night guards found in most box retail stores; simple, in-house or lab-made guards made to your existing biting position; any number of do-it-yourself molds, or the latest social media ad touting the latest sleep night guard for grinders.

One Dr. Green patient recently said,

"I clenched through my last dental guard in under two weeks, and it already had holes, and my teeth were touching.

Grinding your way through dental guards like this is abnormal and indicates that further examination could determine a better approach to a more proactive treatment approach for lasting results.

  • Why keep buying the same guard for sometimes hundreds of dollars per guard and expecting a different result? 
  • Why buy a guard from your dentist in the first place if they cannot address the root cause of why you clench and grind while sleeping or during waking hours?
  • Why keep living with the pain and uncertainty if the next dental guard will work?

Dr. Green's Solution: Physiologic-Based Sleep Appliances

Dr. Green advocates moving away from traditional night guards. Her method uses physiologic-based sleep appliances, focusing on muscle alignment and bite. Here's why it's effective:

  • Muscle-Centric: Dr. Green's appliances are made after accurately measuring the muscles' resting position, directly addressing grinding and clenching causes.
  • Jaw Stability: These appliances support the jaw, promoting proper alignment and eliminating TMJ issues.
  • Airway Consideration: Dr. Green's approach also looks at improving breathing during sleep, which benefits those with sleep-related breathing issues.
  • Less Muscle Fatigue: By reducing muscle activity at night, these appliances lessen daytime clenching and protect teeth and muscles.

TMJ and Bruxism Jaw Pain Relief

A well-fitted night guard isn't just a simple tool; it's a key player in tackling bruxism and TMJ discomfort. It's a smart, non-invasive choice that aligns your jaw and teeth, easing tension and headaches associated with TMJ dysfunction.

Why prioritize a mouth guard for jaw clenching? Neglecting bruxism can spiral into hefty dental costs down the road, like root canals or worse. It's not just about tooth wear; it's about safeguarding against intense jaw force and potential pain.

How Much Are Dental Guards?

Sure, you could snag a cheaper guard from your dentist or online, but here's why a custom-fit night appliance by a dental pro like Dr. Green is a game-changer:

  1. Custom Measured Fit: Measuring muscles ensures your jaw's in the right spot for TMJ relief.
  2. Comfortable at Night: A snug, stay-put fit means better, hassle-free nights.
  3. Durable, Lasting Quality: Better materials = longer dental appliance.

Cost-wise, it can be a wise investment. The price of a custom guard pales compared to fixing damage from unchecked grinding and clenching teeth for years or decades. Health insurance can help sometimes through FSA and HSA accounts, but most of our patients also consider two-year no-interest payment plans that best fit their lifestyle.

How Do I Get a Custom Sleep Guard?

Getting your custom nighttime sleep appliance in Springfield from Dr. Green takes a couple of steps. Dr. Green looks at the airway in addition to teeth, gums, and jaw joints, which starts with a 3D X-ray and radiology report, a digital impression, to make a custom-fitted lab-crafted durable guard in your most relaxed muscle position, and a final fit check.

See more about what to expect at your new patient visit.

Our patients often do a take-home sleep screening scored by a sleep physician to understand the level of sleep disordered breathing which can be exacerbated by clenching and grinding during sleep. Then we can accurately plan treatment for what could work best on an individualized basis.

Remember, comfort complaints often stem from ill-fitting or generic guards.

Are you experiencing tooth damage or jaw pain? Let's chat about custom-tailored solutions.

Traditional night guards have their place for some patients and can provide a "quick fix", but they often fail to address teeth-grinding issues fully. At Springfield Smile Doctor, Dr. Green's method, grounded in physiologic-based dentistry, offers a more comprehensive and effective treatment than a standard dental guard when looking at TMJ and sleep issues. 

Focusing on muscle measurement, jaw alignment, airway health, and reducing muscle fatigue, Dr. Green's approach to protecting teeth can lead to better oral health and more peaceful sleep.

Call or text our office to see about candidacy for a better TMJ and nighttime solution to protect your teeth, muscles, and airway for a whole-health dental approach that goes beyond teeth.

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