Night GuardsWatertown, MA
Does your child wake up with headaches, sore teeth or jaw pain? If so, you should visit our Watertown MA dental office for an examination. Your child may be in need of night guard, and if so, we can provide one designed to improve your child's oral health and the quality of sleep. To learn more, call (617) 209-6434 and schedule an appointment with our dental office. At Pediatric Dental Arts, we provide a superior level of care and will use the latest in dental technology to ensure your child's teeth and gums are as healthy as they can be. Fitting patients with a night guard is often part of that process.
What are night guards?
Night guards are a small piece of plastic designed to fit securely around your child's teeth. They are actually quite small and can fit in the palm of your child's hand. Typically, they are made of clear plastic, so they will not stand out when you wear them. This is excellent news for those who are self-conscious about appearance but want to save their teeth. To see what one looks like, visit our dentist office.
Does my child really need to wear a night guard?
If you child grinds his or her teeth at night, we can help. At Pediatric Dental Arts, we believe in the value of preventative care. Night guards are one of the ways that we can prevent patients from damaging their teeth. Since your child only gets one set of permanent teeth, allowing them to be ground down is unwise. The discomfort your child will experience and the cost to repair your child's teeth is not worth skipping out on this preventative measure. We know that not all of our Watertown, MA patients enjoy the idea of wearing a night guard and we will not recommend doing so unless we are certain that it will be useful in solving their problems.
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Why do most people wear a night guard?
The exact reason your child needs one will be determined during the dental exam. Typically, they are worn to:
- Prevent damage. Teeth grinding can reverse any previous dental work done to improve or treat your child’s teeth. Even if your child’s teeth have never needed repair, grinding can cause the teeth to chip, crack or simply wear down. As the teeth flatten, your child will experience direct discomfort, while also exposing the dentin and roots of the teeth. This can lead to feelings of sensitivity when your child eats or drinks. If this type of damage continues, your child could end up with gum recession and even lose permanent teeth. If your child uses a night guard, the upper and lower teeth will be unable to grind against each other. The night guard can prevent potential damage from occurring.
- Ease discomfort.
Nighttime teeth grinding can cause severe headaches and tooth pain in the morning. If your child is regularly waking up in pain or feeling uncomfortable, this can be a sign that he or she needs to wear a guard while sleeping. At Pediatric Dental Arts, we have found that many of our patients feel significantly better after wearing their guard for just a few days. The key is to continue wearing it every night. While some grinding is caused by stress or tension, there is no way to tell exactly what causes people to grind their teeth or to stop the body from attempting it. Continued use of the night guard helps to prevent the teeth from being involuntarily ground down.
- Treating temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
Severe grinding or jaw clenching can lead to temporomandibular, TMJ, disorder. This disorder starts out as a sore jaw in the morning and may include an occasional headache. Symptoms can include pain in face, neck, or jaw while eating. If your child experiences these symptoms, call 617-209-6434 to schedule an appointment with our Watertown office right away. It is critical to treat TMJ disorder early, by wearing a night guard and preventing your child’s teeth from grinding in his or her sleep. Otherwise, TMJ disorder can become severe. At this stage, some people find it difficult to even open their mouth; let alone eat or speak normally.
Are they comfortable to wear?
Yes, the night guards created by Dr. Raffa, are incredibly comfortable, since they are designed using your child's measurements and exact specifications. The material we use is durable, yet comfortable enough to wear at night, without interrupting your sleep.
Can night guards help with sleep apnea?
There are oral appliances that are used to treat sleep apnea, which are different from a standard night guard. However, we can provide you with more information when you visit our Massachusetts dentist office.
How long will my child's night guard last?
If your child takes good care of the night guard and has purchased one made of strong material, then there is no reason that it should stop working. The type of night guard that you can buy in the store is not designed to last forever and will typically give up after six months to a year. A dentist-made night guard can last for years, sometimes even decades. At Pediatric Dental Arts, we also recommend that your child store it in a safe place. We will give your child a hard case, and that is the ideal place to keep it. Most of our Watertown, MA patients put their night guards in a case and keep it in their nightstand drawer. Out of the way, it is unlikely to get misplaced by a child. If you travel a lot, you may want to have two created so your child can keep one at home and one in a carry-on bag.
What should my child do to take care of the night guard?
Another way to keep a night guard in good shape is to brush it regularly. Cleaning it is relatively easy. All you need to do is brush it with a soft toothbrush, toothpaste, and lukewarm water. This should remove the plaque that has built up on it. Additionally, your child can try a special dental solution and soak the guard once per week. Be sure to dry it afterwards to prevent any bacteria buildup.
To learn more about night guards and how they can help your child, call our dental office to schedule an appointment. You can reach us at (617) 209-6434.
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