What is a Night Guard and When is it Used?
A night guard is exactly that, a guard worn at night. It is a somewhat flexible tray that sits over your teeth. The goal of a night guard is to act as a cushion to protect the teeth and the jaw from wear occurring from nocturnal habits such as grinding and clenching. Teeth grinding is when the top and bottom teeth rub together. Teeth clenching is when the jaws press the teeth together, like a firm constant bite. Both habits are subconscious and are a form of a sleep motion disorder, and both are very common.
How Does a Night Guard Help?
When worn properly and frequently, a night guard helps to prevent wear on the tooth’s biting surfaces. The night guard absorbs the strong biting or clenching forces from the jaws and acts as a cushion to absorb these forces. Additionally, when wearing a night guard, the biting and clenching forces are evenly distributed throughout the jaw and teeth. There are several different models of night guards to choose from depending on your needs and what will work best for you. Some are thinner, some are thicker, some can be worn on the top teeth, some can be worn on the bottom teeth.
- Wear your night guard every night for the best protection
- It is difficult to adjust when first wearing a night guard, so give it a few weeks until you get comfortable wearing one
- Inspect the night guard periodically for damage. It may need replacement if there is excessive damage
- Clean your night guard daily with a toothbrush and warm water. Avoid hot water because it may warp the plastic
- You night guard should fit snugly on your teeth. Let your dentist know if the fit feels loose.
If you think that you are clenching or grinding your teeth and you think that you would benefit from a night guard, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule an appointment.