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.
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 what does a night guard do exactly?
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.
How Are Dental Night Guards Made?
Here is the process to make a night dental guard:
Step 1: Impression Taking
This is a critical step to guarantee an excellent end result. A negative copy of the lower and/or upper teeth is taken in order to create a stone cast from it. The impression gels have viscosities that capture the softness and hardness of the tissues. This cast or mold is used in a dental laboratory to create the custom dental night guard. In a dental office, most often a type of alginate is used to take your dental impression. The powdery alginate is mixed with water. You may remember seeing this goopy mixture if you have ever had your dental impression taken in a dental office setting.
The impression material you receive when you order online is not messy like the alginate yet gives the same clear results. It is similar to play-doh in texture and mixes together easily with no residue. Taking your own dental impression is easy. Mix the two putties together and roll into a hotdog like shape. Place the putty in the tray and submerge all the whites of your teeth. Hold very still and the putty will begin to harden. Remove when putty has completely hardened.
Step 2: Making of the Mold
Once the impression has been taken, it is time to pour up the stone cast of the teeth. Here you may begin to understand why the impression taking process is so important. A stone replica of the teeth should capture all of your unique dental anatomy. It should be a perfect cast of your exact teeth. The gum margin should be visible too. The lab will mix a powdery dental stone and water together to create a thick, soupy mixture. A dental vibrator is used for thorough mixing. The stone is then laid carefully into the teeth impression. It is stacked high to create a nice base and the weight of the stone disrupts any bubbles that may have formed in the teeth area. Now we wait for the stone to harden. Hardening times differ (on average it’s about a 20 minute wait time). The stone will become hot before it cools. After the model is dry and hard, we carefully remove the stone from the dental impression. It is always necessary to trim the excess stone material. All of this prep work is to ensure that the night guard will fit as perfectly as possible. It is imperative not to skip steps. Make sure that the back of the stone cast lays completely flat so that the night guard material can distribute evenly across the surfaces of the teeth. When the model is trimmed and dried it is then sprayed with a lubricant so that the night guard material separates easily from the stone mold during fabrication.
Step 3: Fabrication
Now that the model is ready for fabrication, the process to follow is a method of bilamination by thermopressure. In this process, the trimmed model and night guard sheet is placed under a heater to soften the materials. A timer is set and the mold is ready to be thermoformed and pressurized. After this process, the mold is left to cool down before a second trimming takes place. A skilled technician uses multiple burs, cutting wheels and a bit of artistry to create a well-fitted custom appliance.
Step 4: Delivery
When the dental guard is finished, it is delivered to the customer to try it in and check for fit and comfort. The guard should be stable and not cause any kind of pain or discomfort. Some tightness may be felt initially but should ease after a few days of consistent use. Sometimes it is necessary to do minor adjustments, but this occurs in rare occasions. If everything fits perfectly, the customer also receives instructions for proper wear and care of the guard. A case is also provided to keep it in when not in use.
Teeth grinding or bruxism can greatly weaken the teeth, cause chipping and high sensitivity. If it is left untreated not only the health of the teeth and jaw can be compromised, but your overall health and lifestyle can change.
A professionally made dental night guard can relieve the pain and discomfort caused by teeth grinding and jaw clenching and also protect the teeth from further damage (weakening, breakage, flattening).
The night guard keeps the teeth from making direct contact with one another which helps to avoid the effects of grinding of the teeth and the clenching of the jaw.
Every case is different. It is important to speak to a certified dental professional to see if the use of a dental night guard is needed and what type of night guard is more appropriate for a specific situation.
Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, is a serious condition that can lead to a number of problems like jaw disorders, jaw pain, earaches, and persistent headaches, to name a few. This condition affects people from all ages and the generally identified causes can be physical, psychological, or both, including:
-Emotions, like stress, frustration, anger, or anxiety
– Personality, either hyperactive, competitive or aggressive
– Malocclusion which is the abnormal alignment of the teeth
– Sleep problems
– Acid reflux
– Response to pain
– Complications from certain disorders
A person with bruxism requires treatment.
An immediate solution to stopping all the dental damage and health problems this condition causes is the use of a professionally made dental night guard. As opposed to the over-the-counter mouth guards, a professionally made dental guard will fit the patient’s mouth to the slightest detail, protecting the teeth and the jaw from additional pain and damage during sleep.
The way the dental night guards are fabricated guarantees their effectiveness due to the preciseness of the process the dental lab goes through, which also gives the patient not only the piece of mind of wearing a guard professionally made just for them, but also the comfort to have a good sleep without having to worry about the guard in their mouth.