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Night Guards – What are they? Who needs them?

March 2, 2018

Filed under: Night guard,Removable Dental Appliances — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 7:12 am

Night guards!

Night Guards – What are they? Who needs them?

Do you need a night guard? What is a night guard?  Is a night guard the same as a mouth guard? How are night guards made?  These questions and more are answered here!

This custom made hard acrylic night guard provides many benefits!

If you clench or grind your teeth at night – or during the day – you are not alone!  You may do this and not be aware that you have this habit.  It does not always make noise.  You do not always have symptoms that you, yourself would notice.  Your dentist or dental hygienist should notice though.  You may need a night guard if you have the signs or symptoms of occlusal (the biting surfaces of the teeth) disease or soreness in the jaw muscles.  See more below for reasons why it is so very important to understand and treat occlusal disease.  If treated early the difficulty and cost of treatment is minimal!

Occlusal Splints and Night guards

There are several different kinds of night guards that we may recommend for you.  Some are shown here.  They may be made on either your upper or your lower teeth and they are very comfortable to wear once your mouth has gotten used to them.  They can be thick or thin (depending on the goal) and they will generally cover all the teeth in one arch or just the front teeth.

The signs and symptoms of occlusal disease or abnormal wear of the teeth should not be ignored! 

Abnormal wear due to occlusal disease. A night guard will not reverse this, but can prevent further destruction.

The damage to tooth structure may be painless but it will continue and probably increase over time.  The following list of information related to occlusal disease is excerpted from courses with Dr. Peter Dawson.  Dr. Dawson has taught over 30,000 dentist and technicians principles of occlusion and TMJ therapy.  The characteristics of occlusal disease are the following:

  • It is the #1 dental problem causing destructive
  • It is the #1 contributor to the loss of teeth
  • It is the #1 reason extensive dental treatment is needed
  • It is the #1 reason that people have pain in their jaw muscles and TMJ
  • It is the #1 cause of structural damage to the teeth
  • It is the #1 reason for tooth pain

If you are clenching or grinding your teeth, you may also have one or more of the following:

  • Excessive (compared to what is normal for the chewing of food) wear of the teeth
  • Pain or tenderness in the chewing muscles
  • Headaches
  • Stress – It should be noted here that clenching or grinding will not improve stress!

Please share your concerns with our office and we will let you know is a night guard would be beneficial for you!  Our office cares about you and your teeth!  Please call our office at (970) 242-3635 to schedule an appointment or to ask any questions.  We would love to have you ‘Like” us or Follow us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/juliegillisddspc/

Yours for better dental health,

       Julie Gillis DDS

Restoring Teeth/Restoring Smiles


What is Splint or Night Guard, and What Can It Do For My Jaw?

April 25, 2014

Filed under: Appliances to Limit Habits,Splint or Bruxism Appliance — Tags: — Dr Gillis @ 6:23 pm


Hard splint with softer comfort lining.

Hard splint with softer comfort lining.

The benefits of a bruxism appliance or splint/night guard:

  • Teeth and dental work are protected from the grinding process – much cheaper to buy a splint than repair teeth
  • Ideally the clenching and grinding habit is eliminated over time
  • Jaw muscles can relax which can help reduce tension and pain
  • The jaw joint or TMJ receives less damaging forces
  • The bone associated with the teeth and the jaw joints have less force directed to them, which can reduce future damage


What your tongue might feel of the inside of a hard splint.

What your tongue might feel of the inside of a hard splint.

Side view of hard splint

Side view of hard splint

In our office in Grand Junction, Colorado we make several types of bruxism appliances or splints. The most durable is a hard acrylic splint that covers all the teeth of one arch and is adjusted to obtain an ideal bite pattern with the opposing dental arch.  This type of splint is best for patients who continue to clench and grind their teeth even with a splint appliance or Night guard in place.

Our office would be happy to answer your questions about splints or night guards and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about your teeth.  We can show you samples of various types of splints, night guards and other appliances and how they fit in your mouth.


Please call our office for further information or visit our Facebook page  at https://www.facebook.com/juliegillisddspc or our website!  We would love to help.

Yours for better dental health, Julie Gillis, DDS


We also make an NTI appliance which can reduce the muscle forces from grinding by over 80%. Our soft PROFORM appliance is much less expensive and is often enough protection to allow the jaw muscles to relax and protect the teeth.