Q: My doctor wants me to get a night guard appliance; is it always recommenced for everyone?
A: I love when dentistry enters pop culture. However, many movies have portrayed dentistry in a negative light. Who can forget the sadistic dentists portrayed in movies like Marathon Man with Dustin Hoffman and Little Shop of Horrors with Steve Martin? I can’t tell you how many patients over the years still have these images embedded in their minds.
One can only imagine how the dental community began to relax a bit when a night guard came up into the dialogue in the rom-com, Date Night, when Tina Fey took out her appliance before engaging in foreplay with her husband in the movie played by Steve Carell.
I would like you to google: “dental attrition” and try not to be too horrified as to what happens to even the healthiest teeth over time from clenching and grinding; they wear down to little nubs! Many times multiple root canals are need due to exposure of the dental pulp.
I am a patient too and even though I have no fillings and no gum problems, I had to have four crowns and 16 porcelain veneers to restore all the enamel I had worn down from grinding my teeth. It is amazing to me how such small investment in such a simple device can stop massive destruction of ones entire dentition.
Especially if you have any porcelain or metallic dental work in your mouth such as veneers, Crowns, bridges and Implants. Research has shown that since Covid, more patients are coming in with damaged teeth from clenching and grinding. I have a patient who fractured two virgin teeth (no fillings; no decay) and needed extractions and dental implants to replace them. These were not fractures from biting on a hard piece of food; these were from the teeth gnashing over each other.
We use digital no-goop impressions to scan the teeth for an accurate model in which the lab will fabricate your custom appliance. Do not buy a drugstore “boil and bite” mouthpiece. These can move your teeth and ulcerate your gums.
Having a night guard will save you from having to invest in a $30 to $50,000 reconstruction one day, or a full set of dentures.