Custom Occlusal Guards (a.k.a. "Nightguards")

Do you frequently wake up with a sore jaw or a headache? Does your spouse say they hear you grinding your teeth throughout the night?

If you answered either question with "yes," you may suffer from Bruxism, or grinding of your teeth. Alternatively, you may clench your teeth at night. Bruxism is a common condition, affecting 10% of adults and 15% of children, according to the American Sleep Association. Other signs of Bruxism include:
  • Your canine teeth are completely flat, or even "notched out," instead of having their original pointed tip.
  • You suffer from tooth sensitivity.
  • Your dentist notices unusual wear spots on your teeth.
The causes of Bruxism have not been determined, but contributing factors could include misaligned teeth, poor quality of sleep, and missing teeth. 

complications caused by bruxism 

Though Bruxism is a common condition, it should not be ignored. Without treatment, Bruxism can lead to a variety of more serious oral health conditions such as:
  • TMJ Pain
  • Fractured Teeth
  • Loosened Teeth
  • Damaged Dental Restorations
  • Bone Loss
  • Receding Gums
  • Tooth Sensitivity

How do nightguards help? 

At Imagine Dentistry, we offer Custom Fit Occlusal Guards, or Nightguards, that reduce the likelihood of further damage to your teeth. They work by absorbing and dispersing the biting pressure, which protects your tooth enamel and relieves jaw muscle tension.

Custom Nightguards are more costly than a mouth guard you could buy at your local pharmacy, but for good reason. They are far superior to what you can get over-the-counter for three primary reasons:


Custom guards are made with a lab-fabricated, acrylic material that is able to withstand even the most severe teeth grinding! A custom guard will likely last several years before needing a replacement, and can be adjusted to relax your muscles.


Custom guards are made by taking an impression of your teeth to create a model that is an exact replica of your teeth. As you grind and clench throughout the night, a guard that isn't custom fitted could easily come out. A custom Nightguard is created to stay in your mouth all night, no matter how intensely you grind.

Not only are custom guards fitted just for your teeth - they are also adjustable. If fitted properly, your custom Nightguard can relieve muscle tension in your face when you're sleeping. A one-size-fits-all solution is not likely to have the same positive effects. For example, if you're a teeth clencher, your jaw movements are similar to what they are when you're chewing gum or eating a meal. Therefore, simply keeping your teeth apart will not help with muscle tension.


If you've had clear or traditional braces, you likely have been given a clear retainer to keep your teeth aligned after you've completed orthodontic care. While these clear retainers work extremely well for their intended purpose to keep your teeth straight, they may not be sufficient to protect your teeth and jaw from the effects of bruxism. If your retainer has cracks or holes in it, that's a strong indicator that you're grinding and should use a custom-fit Nightguard instead.

To reduce muscle tension in your mouth, you want to have equal pressure on all of your teeth as you bite down. Retainers don't take this into account, as they are the same thickness of plastic over each tooth. This design could increase muscle tension since bite forces would be unevenly distributed on the plastic. Custom Nightguards, on the other hand, are adjusted to match the way your jaw hinges shut, so the pressure is equally spread around.

A bonus: custom Nightguards are a great fashion accessory!

Not only are custom Nightguards excellent for improving your oral health - they can also be fun to wear! Our Nightguards come in a wide variety of styles. You can choose your favorite color, make your Nightguard glow-in-the-dark, or add a little bling for little to no extra cost. Dr. Coambs rocks her purple sparkly retainer! 

Dr. Coambs is passionate about helping patients with TMJ pain and other problems associated with their teeth. In fact, she has advanced training from The Dawson Academy in assessing and treating issues related to the jaw joints. To learn more about how a custom occlusal guard could help you, contact us for a consultation

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