Have you ever woken up with a sore jaw, tooth pain, or a headache? These are common symptoms of sleep bruxism, teeth grinding as well as teeth clenching. The American Dental Association estimates that 10-15 percent of adults struggle with sleep bruxism or clenching, and children can experience it too. Because it happens during sleep, it can be difficult to control or stop. In addition, most people have no idea they are even doing it. One way to protect the teeth from the damaging effects of grinding or clenching is to wear a night guard.
What Is A Night Guard?
Night guards come in hard, medium, and soft varieties, with the soft ones resembling mouth guards for sports and hard ones resembling clear plastic retainers, though they’re much sturdier. At Best Impression Dental most of our night guards consist of a hard-outer layer with a soft liner giving you both durability and comfort. Wearing a night guard provides a cushioning effect so that the upper and lower teeth can’t wear away at each other. A night guard also creates an ideal glide path for the teeth which enables us to shift the wear from the teeth and jaw to the plastic night guard surface. A night guard will protect your teeth from external damage caused by grinding, such as chipping and erosion, and often helps dramatically with jaw and TMJ pain.
What Night Guards Are Not
While hard night guards might look like retainers, they are not necessarily interchangeable. You should never use a normal retainer as a night guard, because it doesn’t have the necessary thickness to withstand the pressure. You should also be careful about using night guards as retainers. If you have a hard night guard that is properly fitted to your teeth and made by a dental professional, it can serve as a retainer, but a soft night guard, or the ones bought over the counter won’t prevent your teeth from shifting.
Where To Get A Night Guard
You can either buy your night guard over-the-counter or get a custom night guard from the dentist. A typical over-the-counter night guard requires you to shape it to your teeth by boiling it, allowing it a moment to cool, and then gently biting into it. Although this option is cheaper the If you obtain your night guard through your dentist, the added comfort and quality will be worth the greater price. The process of having a night guard made in office is easy. Dr. Burton will help you decide what night guard is best suited for you needs. From there all we need is a simple impression which is then sent to the laboratory to make your custom night guard.
Do You Need A Night Guard? Ask Us Today!
If you think you might have bruxism or if you may clench or grind at night, don’t wait; come talk to us about it. Dr. Burton and the Best Impression Dental team can get you your perfect night guard, and we can also help you with other methods of reducing the symptoms, such as discussing ways to reduce stress levels and recommending other solutions such as orthodontics or Invisalign if misaligned teeth are contributing to the grinding.
Cleaning and Storing Your Night Guard
If you don’t want to end up with a night guard that is smelly and gross, it’s important to clean and store it correctly. Always rinse your night guard after you take it out, then brush it with your toothbrush (but no toothpaste). Toothpaste is to abrasive and can cause unwanted wear to the night guard. To prevent bacterial growth, a night guard should never be stored wet, so give it time to air dry before placing it in its case, and it might be better to leave it on the nightstand instead of in the bathroom.
Thank you for trusting us to take care of your dental needs!