A night guard is a slightly flexible tray made of pliable plastic that fits either on the top or bottom jaw, over your teeth. The purpose of a night guard is to protect the teeth and jaws from wear due to habits such as grinding and clenching while sleeping. Grinding is when the top and bottom teeth rub together. Clenching is when force is applied from the jaws to press the teeth together, like a firm bite. Both habits can be subconscious and are a form of a sleep motion disorder.
How Does a Night Guard Help?
The night guard, if worn correctly and consistently, prevents wear on the biting surfaces of the teeth from tooth on tooth contact at night. The guard absorbs the forces from the jaws and acts as a cushion. While wearing a night guard, the force of the jaw is evenly distributed throughout the jaw and teeth. There are several different types of night guards to choose from, depending on your needs and what will work best for you. Some are thin or thick, some can be worn on the top teeth or the bottom teeth. It is important to talk with your dentist about what type of night guard will work best for you.
- Try to wear your night guard every night. It can only protect your teeth if you are wearing it
- It can be a difficult adjustment to start wearing a night guard. Give it a couple of weeks, and you will start feeling comfortable with it
- Inspect your night guard periodically for chips and cracks. If there are any, the night guard may need to be replaced as it might not be working as efficiently
- Clean your night guard every day with a separate toothbrush and some warm water. Never use hot water on your night guard as it may warp the plastic
- You night guard should fit snug on your teeth. If it feels loose or too tight/uncomfortable, it may need to be adjusted
If you believe you may be clenching or grinding your teeth and would benefit from a night guard, or have any questions about night guards. We encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.