For patients who have bruxism, a condition that involves chronic clenching or grinding of the teeth, a night guard may be recommended. Over time, this condition can cause tooth wear and fractures, myofascial pain, headaches and other issues. While a night guard may not treat bruxism entirely, it can help protect the teeth, joints and muscles during sleep.
Like TMJ splints, night guards are designed to facilitate a movement of the lower jaw. However, they do not provide significant forward jaw movement or vertical support. Occasionally, a doctor may recommend a night guard to be worn during certain daytime activities, such as weightlifting, driving or studying, where clenching and grinding habits may appear.