How Does A Dental Night Guard Work?
It is well known that a smile is an important asset in life, yet it is often taken for granted. Whether you flaunt your all-natural teeth when you smile, or have cosmetically enhanced your teeth in one way or the other, a dental night guard may be the solution you need to protect your teeth. A dental night guard is a device that is normally considered to be the first-line treatment for teeth grinding (bruxism). Often known as an occlusal splint, the dental night guard might cover just one row of teeth or both rows, depending on one’s requirements. Generally, a night guard is recommended to be worn on one teeth arch only (not both). The best night guard type is custom fitted to help reduce the clenching and grinding during the night. It is worn at night (and sometimes during the day) to protect your teeth against potential damage by the grinding or clenching. The action of grinding or clenching teeth at night is considered a sleep disorder. The effects of stress, one’s irregular bite, medications, stimulants or other issues may be the cause. Wearing a night guard will significantly reduce the effects of continuous grinding & clenching by creating a barrier between the chewing surfaces of the teeth thus preventing direct tooth on tooth contact.
First, decide which night guard type is right for you. One common question we’re asked is which thickness to choose. The 2mm thickness is the most common choice. Just to give you a reference point, 2mm is about the thickness of a nickle coin. If you’re a heavy grinder you may need a more durable 3mm night guard (available in soft only). The 1mm is very thin and typically recommended for daytime use. Remember, any of our guards will serve the function of protecting your teeth from the damages associated with teeth grinding and jaw clenching. These two articles will help guide you further:
Dental Night Guard Thickness: Which To Choose?
Hard, Soft, or Dual Laminated Night Guard: Which is right for me?
Once your order has been placed, you will receive a do-it-yourself dental impression kit. This kit contains two plastic trays (choose which one fits best), blue and white putty paks, instructions, and a prepaid return mailer. Taking your dental impression is EASY! Check out our “how to” video. Upon receipt of your dental impression, we will make your custom appliance within 8-12 business days.
So how does a dental night guard work?
A dental night guard will reduce your teeth grinding problem by:
• Relaxing your jaws, thereby reducing muscles spasms;
• Easing the tension that leads to a constant ache and alleviating constant headaches;
• Allowing your jaw muscles to align properly, thereby preventing your teeth from constantly locking together;
• Providing an alternative to your teeth to help prevent wear
• It also cushions the teeth, thereby preventing your teeth from damage due to the grinding or clenching action.
A dental night guard will not only protect your teeth against surface damage, gum problems (including recession) and loose teeth, it will also help strengthen your teeth.
During daytime, it is important to note that the teeth are supposed to meet when you are chewing or swallowing. At other times, teeth should be apart and lips together. Teeth grinding can overtime wear away the teeth surface, making them susceptible to damage, becoming loose or painful. While upper arch (maxillary) devices are often used to treat the condition, a lower arch device can be recommended to a patient who doesn’t want to have a visible or noticeable device or if there is a serious gag reflex action with the maxillary device. A night guard on either teeth arch will serve the same function. That is, to create a barrier so that the teeth do not have direct tooth on tooth contact with one another.
There are a number of materials that can be used to make a dental night guard, including hard and soft plastics or a combination of both. All materials are effective, although the hard night guards are less flexible and therefore, more likely to stay in place longer, preventing direct tooth on tooth grinding for a longer period of time. These types are generally more expensive than soft night guards.
A professional dental lab can also tailor a dental night guard for your individual needs. The dimensions and outline of your mouth are recorded and used to make a custom night guard. This is usually the best night guard because it provides the best fit and comfort.
You may have bought a one size fits all dental night guard previously, but what you may not know is that your teeth impression should be used to make the dental night guards for the best results. A professional lab can customize a night guard for you based on your teeth impression.
Quality dental night guards can be quite affordable and you can easily avoid further damage to your teeth surface. They can also help protect your valuable investment in case you have undergone a dental smile makeover. With these devices, some change in the fit can occur over time. For instance, your dental anatomy may shift over the years and cause your dental night guard to not fit like it used to. Night guards should be regularly assessed and adjusted to ensure they are well fitting and serving their purpose well. Poorly devised or badly aligned night guards might not be able to solve the issue. Well-adjusted dental night guards will enable anyone with bruxism to lead a normal lifestyle, without having to worry about tooth wear or any other dental-related issues.
For your dental night guard to properly limit the issue related to teeth grinding, it is highly recommended to wear the device each night. Some patients will ultimately be able to stop teeth grinding over time and the night guard won’t be required. In order to maintain the night guard, it must be properly cleaned after use by brushing it and rinsing thoroughly.