What is a Night Guard and Why You Might Need One
If you’ve been suffering from a painful and stiff jaw or a severe headache it is possible that you have been grinding or clenching your teeth at night, a condition known as sleep-bruxism. Commonly associated with stress, it has been on the rise recently across the US as we move forward in an unprecedented time. It is estimated that around 8% of the population suffers from sleep-bruxism, though many are unaware due to it occurring while they are unconscious. There is currently no cure for bruxism, but the effects can be mitigated through the use of a night guard.
What is a Nightguard?
A night guard is a cover for your teeth that will prevent you from grinding or clenching. Night guards are also known as an occlusal splint, a dental guard, or a bite guard. However, these are not the same as mouth guards, which simply protect the teeth during sports. Night guards can be worn on the top or bottom, which is largely up to personal preference as well as your specific condition.
Choosing the Right Night Guard:
Night guards come in two main categories: custom night guards, and OTC night guards.
Custom Night Guards:
Custom night guards are made using an impression of your teeth. They are designed for comfort, longevity, and to be adjustable as your needs change. These can either be soft, hard, or hybrid nightguards.
Soft night guards are formed from soft rubbery materials and are designed for light or moderate cases of bruxism.
Hard night guards are typically made from acrylic and treat severe cases of teeth grinding and TMJ. These sturdy and long lasting guards will improve the bite over time and allow the lower jaw to return to a healthy position.
Hybrid night guards, also known as dual-laminate night guards, cover a softer inner layer with a hard outer shell to provide severe cases of bruxism additional comfort and support.
OTC or over the counter night guards are far from ideal for long term use, as they shift the bite over time due to not being made specifically for your teeth. Though they carry both one size fits all options, as well as boil and bite night guards which are softened for a better fit, neither are a replacement for a custom made night guard.
If you have been grinding your teeth at night, or suspect you may be suffering from sleep-bruxism, our experts can help accurately diagnose you and provide you with the care and information you need. Schedule a free consultation by contacting us online or call (801) 648-7683 today.