Braces can be a pain, but they're also one of the most reliable and popular solutions for fixing crooked teeth. Unfortunately, they have their downsides: if you've recently gotten braces to straighten your teeth, you may notice that your teeth are tender or sore and more sensitive to hot and cold than they used to be. Plus, in response to these new sensations in your mouth, you may find yourself holding more tension in your jaw with braces.
It’s natural to build up tension or stress in response to new and uncomfortable sensations, and that tension can sometimes lead to a new habit: teeth grinding.
When we carry tension in our jaws – out of habit or in response to new irritations in our mouths – we can easily find ourselves grinding or clenching our teeth both day and night. During the day, the habit is easier to spot and nip in the bud, but at night, our subconscious takes over and a night guard is the surest way to safeguard the health of our teeth, our braces, and our gums.
What is a night guard?
A night guard is a dental appliance that protects the teeth from the wear and tear of grinding and shifting during sleep. Night guards resemble the mouth guards you might have seen on boxers or football players. Night guards come in a variety of materials. Some are quite soft, foam-like even, but most involve longer lasting plastic material of medium or hard density.
Night guards are more comfortable than they used to be.
Night guards used to be very generic in style and fit, and you can still find these general night guards at a lot of drug stores. However, generic night guards can slip around quite a bit, causing their own discomfort. The better night guards are custom designed to fit your teeth. Custom night guards will provide a snug and comfortable fit, and, even better, they can be designed to accommodate braces!
Do I really need a night guard?
If you grind your teeth at night, you are definitely a candidate for a night guard. You don’t want to wear down your teeth or chip a tooth while you’re sleeping. This is a risk for all tooth grinders but can be particularly important for people who are wearing braces. Braces can make the wear and tear of grinding your teeth even worse.
A dentist can often tell whether you are a teeth-grinder based on signs of wear that show up on your teeth. However, if your teeth grinding habit is something new, arising in reaction to getting braces, you may not yet have clear signs of wear.
So, you’ll want to pay attention to any signs that you are holding more tension in your jaw. These signs include any routine headaches that start near your temples/jaw area, pain/tension in the upper sides of your neck, and any absent-minded clenching or grinding you find yourself doing during the day.
How do I wear a night guard with braces?
It is possible to wear a night guard with braces. You just need to make sure your night guard is designed around the braces. If you have a night guard from before you got braces, you cannot continue using that one. You need have a new one designed based on an impression of your mouth with your braces.
Are there precautions to keep in mind?
Yes. You should take some precautions to ensure that your braces are not damaged by the night guard.
First, you should make sure that your orthodontist approves of using a night guard with your braces. While many orthodontists actually recommend a night guard with braces, you orthodontist may want you to avoid using one if he or she thinks that it will interfere with the braces in your particular case.
Second, you must make sure that it’s a night guard that fits well. If it does not fit well, you can damage the braces, your gums, or, in the worst cases, your teeth – exactly the opposite of what you want to do!
Do I need to get a new night guard as my teeth shift?
If you are going to have braces for a while because you have a lot of straightening that you and your orthodontist want to achieve, it is possible that you will need more than one night guard over the course of your treatment.
You want to pay attention to the fit of your night guard. If it starts to feel too snug or loose in certain areas when you are taking it on and off, you will want to get a new one for the next few stages of your straightening regimen. Because fit it so important here (to prevent the night guard from interfering with the work of the braces), you don’t want to stick with a night guard that is no longer fitting quite right.
How do I get an affordable night guard?
Many people don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a custom-made night guard provided by their dentist or orthodontist. Some turn to generic store-bought night guards, but these night guards rarely fit or work well, even less so when braces are complicating the picture.
Fortunately, fifteen years ago, TeethNightGuard.com stepped into the niche of providing custom-built, affordable night guards. When you order, you will get an impression kit with easy, straightforward instructions that will help you make an impression of your teeth – even if you have braces. Then, our U.S.-based dental lab will build your night guard based on your impression and your selection of material density (from a range of seven density choices), and your custom night will arrive ready-to-use at your doorstep.
All the night guards are BPH, phthalate, and latex free, and they come with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
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