Burke, Fairfax and Fairfax Station, VA

Do you wear a night guard? People might use them to help with snoring or because they suffer from bruxism – the clinical term for teeth grinding. Whether you buy a guard over the counter or you receive a custom-made night guard from a dentist, using a night guard carries certain risks. We delve deeper into this topic today on the blog as your Burke dentist Pamela Marzban, DDS, provides our reasons why we do not recommend a night guard.

What causes bruxism?

Bruxism is a fairly common habit and many people who are grinding their teeth never realize they are doing so, because this grinding happens while they are asleep.

There are three main reasons why someone grinds their teeth:

  • Stress
  • As a side effect of an SSRI (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) medication
  • As a symptom of a sleep breathing disorder

If your bruxism is a result of a sleep breathing disorder, a night guard can do more harm than good

Why does this happen? It all starts with the way we breathe – and there is a right way, and a wrong way. The ideal way to breathe is through the nose. Nasal breathing provides greater oxygenation and also encourages the production of nitric oxide, which limits the quantity of harmful bacteria. If something impedes nasal breathing, you start breathing through the mouth instead.

A night guard is considered by many to be the primary method of treating bruxism. You wear it when you sleep, and it protects your teeth from damage when you unconsciously grind them. However, if you are mouth breathing and also grinding your teeth, wearing a night guard can be dangerous. The guard might be protecting your teeth, but the oral appliance also can obstruct the airway, impeding or totally interrupting the flow of air. Moreover, the presence of the oral appliance in your mouth means there is less room in the mouth to accommodate the tongue. 

Mouth breathing is a precursor to a sleep breathing disorder

Someone who breathes through the mouth when they sleep and also grinds their teeth can be more susceptible to a sleep breathing disorder. If the patient already has breathing issues during sleep, using an oral appliance that potentially blocks the airway could become life threatening.

Find the right oral appliance in Burke, Virginia

There is a wide array of oral appliances available for purchase, whether you choose to go for something over the counter – which we do not recommend – or a customized piece. Pamela Marzban, DDS, uses her experience and training to identify the right oral appliance for each of her patients, combining her diagnostic skill with her understanding of physiology and anatomy, along with the diagnosis made on a case-by-case basis. We can use these oral appliances to treat a variety of issues, without causing new problems, as a bruxism night guard may lead to the development of a sleep breathing disorder.

Find out for yourself why the office of Pamela Marzban, DDS, is the Center for Beauty, Balance and Breath. Schedule a consultation today by calling (703) 323-8200 or complete our online appointment request form.

Scroll to Top