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Everything You Need To Know About Dental Night Guards

A dental night guard is a treatment of choice for people who have been diagnosed with bruxism or grinding of teeth while they sleep. Chronic bruxism can gradually worsen and cause extensive damage to the teeth and jaw.

So, if a dental professional advises that you consider this treatment option, then perhaps you should if you grind your teeth while sleeping. Untreated bruxism can quickly worsen and lead to serious oral health problems such as cracked or broken teeth and unceasing headaches.

Reasons for Wearing a Night Guard

1. Prevents Tooth Damage

A night guard is designed to ensure that your top and bottom teeth are comfortably detached while you sleep. Actually, many people with bruxism are not even aware that they grind their teeth at night. So, unless you consider getting a night guard or mouth guard, you have no control over the grinding.

Chronic stages of bruxism will cause your teeth to lose enamel and become unbearably oversensitive. Additionally, the condition may damage preexisting fillings and turn into a costly affair as you have to keep going back to your dentist over and over again. Wearing a night guard will eventually safeguard the quality and comfort or your smile.

2. Less Pain And Tension

It’s advisable to consult with an experienced dental professional, so you can get the most suitable and comfortable design of a dental night guard. Since night guards are typically designed to be lightweight, your muscles and jaw joints won’t experience chronic stress or pain. This also means that your teeth will remain protected for longer.

3. Prevents Unending Headaches

Temporomandibular disorders commonly referred to as TMD are synonymous with constant headaches. Wearing dental night guards helps when it comes to the prevention of these everyday pains and aches. People who were previously dealing with neck pains and temporal headaches have realized an improvement after they started using mouth night guards.

4. Improves Your Sleep Patterns

Clenching or grinding your teeth when sleeping can be extremely uncomfortable and hurting to your healthy sleep patterns. But with a custom-made mouth-guard, your jaw will be perfectly aligned to the right position helping your muscles relax while you sleep. This means that you’ll have a better night’s rest that is stress-free.

5. Long-Term Money Saver

Wearing a night guard will ultimately save you money down the road. The degree and amount of tooth damage by the consistent clenching and grinding of your teeth can be quite costly. Persistent clenching and teeth grinding will also destroy your teeth and jaw over the years.

The aesthetic and functional treatments’ costs required to restore your dental health can quickly add up and become very expensive. So it’s best to catch the teeth grinding and clenching problem at its first stages and prevent before it escalates and causes more costly complications.

6. Prevents Snoring

Snoring can cause discomfort and cause issues with your sleeping partner or spouse. Although this may not sound like a big problem when dealing with bruxism, it’s a reasonable consideration.

A clenched jaw is definitely bound to cause some level of breathing difficulty. A night guard creates a space between the top and bottom teeth. This increases your air intake and allows you to breathe more freely.

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Various Types Of Night Guards

· Boil and Bite dental guards

This particular type of mouth protector is made from thermoplastic material. To wear this night guard, you need to place it in hot water to soften a bit before you place it in your mouth and shape it around the teeth with your tongue’s pressure and your fingers.

· Stock mouth guards/protectors

These are pre-formed dental guards and, therefore, difficult to adjust their sizes. Although they’re readily available in department stores and sporting goods stores, many dentists don’t recommend their use because they’re not that comfortable.

· Custom-fitted dental guards

These are mouth guards that are designed to fit the exact needs of the users according to dentists’ instructions. This means that your dentist will make an impression of your teeth arrangement, and the dental guard will be molded over that model.

The entire process should be handled professionally in a laboratory or a professional dental office. Since a special material has been used in the time-consuming process of producing this type of dental protector, custom-fitted guards can be quite expensive.

What Type Of Dental Guards Do I Need?

Interestingly some people don’t know whether they need to get dental night guards in the first place! If you experience the following signs of bruxism, then it’s time to consider the mouth protectors:

  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Oversensitive teeth
  • Sore jaw in the morning
  • Flat teeth
  • Waking up with facial or neck pains

Even if you realize that you need to get a dental night guard to alleviate these disturbing concerns, you need to consult with your dentist widely to find the right type of mouth guard suitable for you. There are special dental night guards that are designed to prevent tooth damage for people with chronic bruxism called bite splint or bite plate.

While night guards are built to cover the upper teeth, a dental professional can recommend or customize a night guard for the lower jaw; this usually suitable for people who wear braces.

A good dental night guard should not only be comfortable but should also be durable and easy to clean. If you notice that a particular type of night guard restricts your speech, it’s important that you consult with your dentist and seek a better option.

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Tips for Sleeping With Night Guards

Even though some people own dental night guards, the guards are just gathering dust in their bedrooms. This is mainly because many of these people hate the excessive drooling of saliva on their faces when they wear the appliances, or they find the mouth guards hideously unattractive.

It’s possible to be caught in the dilemma between dealing with the effects of bruxism and enjoying a good night’s sleep! The solution to your catch-22 situation is adjusting and learning how to sleep with your dental night guard throughout the night. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:

· Choose A Lightweight Night Dental Guard

Many of the mouth protectors found in department stores or over the counter are uncomfortable and bulky. But, if you discuss your concerns with your dentist, you’ll be able to get a custom-fitted night guard that is ultra-thin and comfortable.

· Find The Right Position

Since night guards are designed to fit either the upper or lower teeth, the way you position your guard, or the type you choose could be the problem. So, instead of wasting a lot of time or struggling to find the right guard, consider shopping around various upper and lower teeth mouth guard types. Try both designs separately to see what fits you most.

· Avoid One-Size-Fits-All Guards

Settling for a one-size-fits-all dental night guard, sold in a drugstore, may seem like a huge bargain compared to the expensive customized options. However, for the best sleeping comfort, it’s better to invest in a customized dental guard rather than keep wasting money on different types of stock dental night guards or mouth protectors.

Furthermore, your dentist will demonstrate how to wear and adjust to using your new dental night guard. In fact, the process will come in handy in guiding you through the entire transitioning process, as well.

· Keep Your Dental Night Guard Clean

Keep your dental night guard free of bacteria by cleaning it thoroughly after use and brushing your teeth. Without routine cleaning, your dental guard will eventually develop a foul smell and grow mold. If you want your mouth guard to last longer, serve you better, and be something you want to put in your mouth before you sleep willingly, you need to take good care of it.

· Practice Proper Timing

To minimize discomfort, you should wear your dental night guard right before bed. This is very important because some people, especially those without any sleeping troubles, fall asleep almost immediately. The night guard is less likely to keep you awake if you put it in your mouth whenever you’re ready to sleep.

· Exercise Some Patience

Don’t be too quick to quit and disregard the effectiveness of dental night guards. Try to hang in there for a few weeks and exercise some patience as you get accustomed to the dental appliances.

Using the device for a few hours and removing it inconsistently will eventually affect your ability to adjust to the mouth guard. If you find that the night guard bothers you a lot, or feels too alien when you wear it at night, try accustoming to its usage for a few hours during the day.

How to Care For Your Dental Night Guard

Taking care of your dental night guard to ensure it serves you best can be challenging, especially if you’re a first-timer. Once you’ve fully adjusted to using your dental night guard appropriately, you’ll need to learn how to maintain it best. Here are vital tips on how to properly take good care of your night guard.

· Clean it properly

Use your toothbrush and mouthwash to thoroughly clean and scrub your mouth appliance. This is mainly to ensure you have removed all the germs it may have collected and keep it functional between uses. In order to position it more easily and comfortably, when putting it in your mouth at night, rinse the night guard first.

In addition, if tartar builds up in your teeth too fast between hygiene appointments, you should consider soaking your dental night guard more regularly. If your teeth don’t build up tartar that fast, you should soak it at least once a month. Soaking the night guard rids off the tartar that accumulated on its surfaces, over time.

· Store it safely

Ensure the dental night guard is safely stored in your bedroom away from pets. The guard should always be kept in its neat case when not in use and safely stored in a lockable drawer or cabinet. Pets can chew your mouth guard because they might smell your mouth on it, no matter how thorough you clean it.

· Avoid extreme heat

Exposing your mouth guard to extreme heat may affect its plastic and finally ruin its original shape. So, if you’re traveling during a hot month, avoid leaving the mouth guard in the car. Instead, you should keep it in your backpack, purse, or briefcase when packing.

· Adjust gradually

If you find that your new dental night guard causes you to lose sleep, don’t force it; simply take off the appliance and try it another night. Keep on trying to adjust to it gradually, without keeping yourself up, until you start using it comfortably throughout the night.

· Don’t panic from the excessive saliva

It’s normal to produce more saliva when you put anything in your mouth. So, just like any other object, wearing a dental night guard will cause you to produce excessive saliva. However, within a few weeks, your brain will somewhat retrain and realize that the dental night guard is not food.

Simply relax and keep wearing the mouth guard as the excessive drooling on your pillow will soon come to an end. Meanwhile, you can spread a small towel or washcloth over the pillow to minimize the discomfort and keep the pillow clean.

Possible Dental Night Guard side effects

  • Minor irritations and discomfort: Before you fully adjust to wearing a dental night guard and get used to it, you may experience minor irritations. You should check with your physician to reevaluate the size if the discomfort or pains persists for too long.
  • Experiencing soreness, pain, or pressure: You’re bound to experience some level of soreness or pressure if the mouth guard isn’t fitted properly. To avoid bigger problems such as jaw misalignment, you should make sure the problem has been taken care of as soon as possible.
  • Shifting teeth: Shifting teeth is a complex problem that occurs when one wears a dental night guard that isn’t properly fitted. Visit your dentist whenever you experience this problem.
  • Jaw misalignment: Although this is not a common side effect of wearing a mouth guard, contact your dentist as soon as possible to prevent the worsening of your bruxism condition.

Conclusion

If you’ve been experiencing problems sleeping at night due to bruxism, then you should consider getting a dental night guard. Dealing with the tension in your jaw will go a long way in helping you solve complex health issues connected to your mouth.

Besides, the benefits of wearing a mouth night guard go beyond preventing teeth grinding. In fact, the night guard will also curtail several other tooth troubles associated with bruxism. The advantages and convenience of wearing a comfortable mouth night guard are just too incredible to ignore.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Do night guards really work?

Absolutely. A night guard can prevent your teeth from wearing down, and can help relax your tense jaw muscles from overexerting themselves as you sleep. Prevention from bruxing may end up saving your thousands of your hard-earned dollars in future dental care.

Can a night guard change your bite?

A night guard does not change your bite. It prevents your teeth from bruxing against each other preventing enamel and dentin loss. Grinding patterns that are not protected with a night guard are actually what can change your biting pattern over time.

Should I get an upper or lower night guard?

Take the advice of your dentist, and get a night guard that they recommend. A bottom or upper night guard will depend on a host of factors that your clinician will determine during your treatment planning appointment.

Can a night guard make TMJ worse?

A night guard actually protects your TMJ by helping your jaw muscles relax, easing the strain that your TMJ feels at night time. This can prevent many arthritic conditions seen in TMJ.

Are over the counter store night guards any good?

Any night guard that is not custom made for your mouth can make your TMJ condition worse over time. We do not recommend over-the-counter night guards for this very reason. Make sure a properly made night guard is made by your clinician, and that it is stabilized inside of your mouth once it’s delivered.

Can a night guard damage or ruin your teeth?

No they cannot. Not only do they not damage your teeth, but they prevent your teeth from damaging each other. Patients who grind their teeth lose an enormous amount of tooth structure over a short period of time.

Do you have to wear a night guard every night?

We certainly recommend that you do. Once you get used to wearing a night guard, it will be hard to sleep without one. Over time you will notice your grinding patterns on the guard itself, showing you how you are helping your teeth from wearing away.