What is a night guard?
A night guard is a custom-made, plastic mouthpiece that fits over your upper or lower teeth to lessen the damaging effects of clenching or grinding your teeth. Night guards can be made of hard or soft plastic, or a combination of both, depending on your individual needs. Night guards can also correct your bite by properly positioning the teeth. There are at least seven different types of custom night guards designed to help specific problems.
Are night guards hard to get used to?
Anytime you wear something different, like new glasses, new shoes, or a night guard, it takes some time to get used to. If you’ve used tooth whitening trays, you’ll know the feeling of something over your teeth. Some people find that night guards over the lower teeth are easier to adjust to. You can discuss your options or concerns with your dentist.
Why would I need a night guard?
It’s estimated that close to 20% of adults suffer from the negative effects of grinding and clenching their teeth, often called bruxism. The main cause of bruxism is stress. Clenching and grinding not only cause excessive wear on your teeth, but can lead to:
- Facial and neck muscle soreness
- Temporo-mandibular joint disorder (TMD) problems
- Arthritis pain and dysfunction
- Fractured or broken teeth
Night guards also protect any crown or bridgework you may have and are often recommended for this reason. Cosmetic dentistry, such as veneers or bonding, should always be protected by a custom night guard.
How is a night guard made?
It only takes two appointments to fit your custom night guard – it’s easy, fast, and pain-free. At your first appointment, we take impressions of your upper and lower teeth; it really only takes a few minutes, and no tools or shots are involved. Then, using these impressions, we make a model and send it to our laboratory, where they create your custom night guard. A few days later at your second visit, we’ll fit and adjust your night guard to make sure it’s comfortable. That’s it!