Overview of Night Guards: Types, Benefits, and Care Tips

Overview of Night Guards: Types, Benefits, and Care Tips

Nov 01, 2021

If you grind or clench your teeth at night, you will likely experience chronic headaches, insomnia, jaw pain, teeth damage, and ear pain, among other annoying side effects. Even worse, your dental restorations such as dental crowns, implants, bridges, and sealants can easily get damaged with regular teeth grinding and clenching (bruxism).

Bruxism is a disorder that causes a patient to clench and grind their teeth unconsciously when sleeping. Aside from bruxism being the cause, a night guard might be necessary to reduce clicking and popping of your jaw and jaw pain. Also, it’s effective in performing TMJ therapy and stopping lockjaw. If you notice any of the above signs, it’s essential to seek appropriate treatment as soon as possible.

When you visit your dentist, they will review your condition to determine the cause of your problem. Among other possible treatments, your dentist might recommend getting a night guard. Regardless of the reason for wearing a nightguard, consistent use will reduce the side effects of bruxism and other issues.

What is a Nightguard?

A night guard is a dental device that looks and feels like a retainer. It’s made from heat-cured plastic or ethylene-vinyl acetate and is fitted over your teeth and gums. They are worn at night when sleeping, reducing the impact and damage of teeth clenching and grinding.

Types of Night Guards

Typically, there are two major types of night guards, including:

Over-the-counter guards

As the name suggests, over the counter nightguards are ready-made guards that are easily accessible in the nearby pharmacy. These mouthguards come in different sizes and don’t usually require any prescription. The only downside with these nightguards is that it’s challenging to find a perfect fit.

Remember that wrongly fitting nightguards can harm your structures such as teeth, gums, and tongue. Even worse, they can affect how you breathe, potentially leading to other issues. While they are reasonably cheap, they don’t necessarily offer the best comfort and fit.

Custom-Made Night Guard

A customized night guard is designed to fit your mouth perfectly. Unlike over the counter nightguards, customized night guards are specifically made for your mouth based on your jaw position and needs. The night guard procedure is also relatively easy. The dentist takes molds of your mouth and sends them to a lab to create your custom fitting night guard.

Once ready, the nightguard is tested to ensure a perfect fit and adjustments are made, if necessary. Since the night guard is made to fit perfectly, it offers maximum protection and comfort throughout the night. It doesn’t interfere with your breathing, helping you get a peaceful night’s sleep.

Benefits of Wearing Night Guards

There are numerous advantages to wearing a nightguard. These include:

  • Less teeth damage
  • Jaw pain is reduced
  • Reduced risk of damage to dental restorations such as dental crowns
  • Less risk of developing TJD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder).
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Fewer or completely eliminated headaches
  • Improved oral health
  • Decreased snoring

When Should I Replace my Nightguards?

Depending on the type of night guard you have, a night guard lasts for about 5 to 10 years. The long life of your night guard also depends on the severity of your condition and overall care. For instance, a patient with severe bruxism will need to replace their nightguard sooner. Similarly, properly caring for your night guard will ensure a long life. To ensure maximum performance, you should replace it as soon as you notice any damage.

How to Care for Your Night Guards

Nightguards are incredibly important when it comes to protecting your mouth. To ensure your night guard lasts the maximum amount of time, utilize these tips when caring for it. Rinse the night guard immediately after wearing it. Next, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush the nightguard.

Wash the night guard over a sink and place a towel on top to prevent damage if the nightguard falls. Never use hot water to clean the guard to prevent distortion. After cleaning, place the nightguard on a clean and dry surface and allow them to dry. Once dry, store them in the case and out of reach of pets and children.

  • Deep clean the nightguard regularly to remove any plaque and bacteria buildup.
  • Clean the nightguard case every few days.
  • Brush and floss thoroughly before wearing the nightguard. This prevents plaque build-up and bad breath.
  • Replace your night guard immediately after it begins to show wear or if it gets damaged.

Schedule An Appointment Today

A good-fitting night guard preserves your teeth structure and improves your overall oral health. If you’re interested in customized nightguards services, contact Newburyport Family Dental today to book your appointment.

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