Do you wake up in the morning with a sore jaw, a headache, or even tooth pain? If so, you may suffer from bruxism, a condition characterized by the grinding or clenching of the teeth, often during sleep. Not only can bruxism cause discomfort and pain, but it can also lead to more serious dental problems such as tooth wear and even tooth loss. That's where night guards come in.
What Are Night Guards?
Night guards are a type of dental device worn over the teeth to protect them from the damaging effects of bruxism. They are made of a soft, flexible material that fits over the upper or lower teeth and creates a barrier between them. This prevents the teeth from coming into contact with each other, reducing the strain on the jaw and protecting the teeth from grinding and clenching.
How Do Night Guards Work?
Night guards provide a cushion between the upper and lower teeth, which helps absorb the force of grinding and clenching. This can help reduce the pressure on the jaw and teeth, relieving pain and discomfort. In addition, night guards can also help to prevent tooth damage by protecting the enamel on the teeth.
Who Can Benefit from Night Guards?
Night guards are a good option for anyone who suffers from bruxism or who has been advised by their dentist to use a night guard to protect their teeth. They are particularly useful for people who grind or clench their teeth heavily, as this can lead to serious dental problems over time. Night guards are also a good option for people with TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders, as they can help reduce the strain on the jaw and relieve pain and discomfort.
How to Choose the Right Night Guard
When it comes to choosing a night guard, it's important to select a product that is comfortable and fits well. There are two main types of night guards: custom and over-the-counter. Custom night guards are made by a dentist or orthodontist and are tailored to fit your teeth perfectly. They are more expensive than over-the-counter night guards, but they offer the best fit and comfort. On the other hand, over-the-counter night guards are mass-produced and can be purchased at a pharmacy or online. They are generally less expensive than custom night guards, but they may not fit as well and may not be as comfortable.
How to Care for Your Night Guard
Proper care of your night guard is important to ensure that it lasts as long as possible and provides the best protection for your teeth. Here are some tips for taking care of your night guard:
Rinse your night guard with warm water before and after each use.
Store your night guard in a case when it's not in use to protect it from damage.
Avoid exposing your night guard to heat, as this can cause it to warp or become brittle.
Avoid using abrasive toothpaste or cleaners on your night guard, as this can damage the surface.
Finally, replace your night guard every one to two years or sooner if it becomes damaged or no longer fits properly.
Night guards are a useful tool for protecting your teeth from the damaging effects of bruxism. They can help to reduce pain and discomfort, prevent tooth damage, and even protect your overall oral health. Whether you choose a custom or over-the-counter night guard, it's important to choose a product that fits well and is comfortable to wear.