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How Do You Know If You Need a Night Guard?

How Do You Know If You Need a Night Guard?

Note rough edges of upper teeth, worn edges of lower teeth.  Upper edges of the teeth are so thin they are see through!

You can see the wear in the teeth above if you look at the edges of the front teeth.  The two lower front teeth are worn enough that a line of dentin shows through on the top of the teeth.  This is not normal wear from chewing correctly!  Now, how do you know if you need a night guard?  The answer really depends on the following things:

  • How long have the teeth looked like this?
  • Is the wear getting worse over time?
  • Is the wear of the teeth happening at night or during the day, or both.
  • Are the teeth likely to get worse if nothing is done?

This photo shows the same teeth as above, but about 2 years previously.  There is much less wear and the top or incisal edges of the teeth – although worn – are much less rough.

In our office we take photos when you initially come to our office.  We use these photos for all kinds of information – one of which is to monitor the teeth over time.

If the wear is left untreated it can progress into severe loss of tooth structure. If severe enough, we may not nbe able to save the teeth. Notice the loss in tooth height and the dished out shape of the teeth where the dentin is exposed.

The upper and lower teeth shown above have been polished to help them last longer.

 

We want to help you keep your teeth for a lifetime! Wear usually happens over such a long time that it is often left untreated and even unnoticed until it is very advanced.

In our office we take photos of all of your teeth when we see you for an initial comprehensive exam.  We go over these photos with you and point out our concerns as well as listen to your concerns.  With these photos we can evaluate your teeth and gums over time to see if anything has changed.  Our patients are often amazed at the destruction that has occurred without any notice that they even have destructive habits.   Once your teeth are worn they will always be worn so it is in your best interest to find out if the wear is progressing over time so that something can be done!

Sometimes, the very first symptom patients notice is see through areas on their teeth that are missing all the dentin as shown in the photo above.  Or rough edges might be noticeable.  By this time significant damage may have occurred but the wear may still be easily treated and further wear minimized.  We care about you and the your overall health and keeping your teeth healthy and strong for a lifetime can often be achieved with proper management.

Please ask us about this or any other dental concern you may have.  We love to help!