Night guards can provide tremendous benefits for many people. However, not everyone understands exactly what a night guard is or how it works. Basically, a night guard acts as a buffer which helps to avoid tooth-to-tooth contact. Contrary to popular belief, the guard does not stop you from grinding your teeth. Instead, it acts as a cushion to protect the bone, joints, muscles, teeth and restorations (i.e. crowns, implants, etc). And, since biting forces can range from 45-550 psi, the pressure can be substantial!
So, who needs a night guard? According to experts, there is a reason to believe that at some level all people have some sort of nighttime parafunctional habit. But, many of my patients object to this and say that they do not grind. The reality is that grinding or clenching can be very difficult to diagnose. Many patients are unaware of this habit and do not exhibit any signs of grinding such as muscle tenderness.
The Bottom Line: Wearing a night guard is not about being a grinder, but is more about protecting you from the possibility!