What To Know About Using A Night Guard
Night guards prevent you from grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw while sleeping. Learn about the benefits and different types of night guards.
There are many reasons to use a night guard while you are sleeping. Many individuals have a difficult time falling asleep because they grind their teeth. Grinding your teeth causes tension in your jaw. You are even more likely to grind your teeth after a stressful day. Not only is it harder to sleep with a tense jaw, but grinding your teeth can lead to other health issues. Damaged teeth, loss of enamel and receding gumline are all symptoms of grinding your teeth. In some cases, you may even experience headaches, neck or jaw pain while you are awake.
Night guards are designed to keep you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. In some cases, a night guard also helps with dental conditions. For example, the symptoms temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) are often treated with a night guard. There are many different types of night guards available, including both retail and custom options.
Benefits of Using a Night Guard
The biggest benefit of using a night guard is preventing tooth damage. A night guard prevents your top and bottom teeth from making contact while you are sleeping. Even if you do not grind your teeth while you try to sleep, it is possible you are grinding your teeth while you sleep. This might not be enough of a discomfort to wake you, but it is still doing damage to your mouth. The more you grind your teeth, the harder it is to fix.
If you are already suffering from jaw pain, a night guard can alleviate your symptoms. Night guards keep your jaw from clenching and experiencing tension. This is one of the reasons so many patients with TMJ use a night guard. Clenching your jaw while you sleep often leads to additional symptoms. Waking up with a headache is a common sign you are grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw while you sleep.
Teeth grinding and jaw clenching are hard habits to break, especially since they often occur while you are asleep. Night guards not only stop this behavior, but it keeps your body from reflexively performing these harmful actions. Using a night guard is also a good way to stop snoring. When your jaw is clenched, you may experience breathing problems, which leads to snoring. Keeping your jaws apart greatly increases the amount of air you inhale while sleeping. This added comfort greatly reduces the odds of snoring.
Retail vs. Custom Night Guards
There are numerous night guards available, but they fall under two categories, retail or custom. Retail night guards are mass produced and available for purchase by any customer. Custom night guards are fitted specifically for your mouth. Both type of night guards are effective, but there are major differences in comfort and quality.
Because custom night guards are designed specifically for your mouth, you know it is comfortable to wear. This is an important feature of a night guard. A retail night guard might keep you from clenching your teeth, but if it is uncomfortable to wear, you will still wake up in pain.
Custom night guards are made using a mold of your teeth. Not only does this ensure the final product is perfectly situated for your mouth, but your dentist can make additional recommendations based on your dental history. For example, if you already have tooth damage, your dentist may recommend a thicker night guard.
Another difference between the two night guards is the price. Custom night guards are significantly more expensive than retail night guards. A retail night guard typically costs between $100 to $300, with some of the fancier night guards going for $500. In comparison, a custom night guard normally costs between $400 and $800. You may even closer to $1,000 if you have preexisting dental conditions that require additional changes to your night guard.
Smile Brilliant produces high quality custom night guards. They also offer reasonable prices and packages. They also do not charge any additional fees for the impression kit. Another option is Pro Teeth Guard. Pro Teeth Guard is almost a hybrid between retail and custom guards. While they offer custom night guards, the customization is limited to only four varieties. However, the cost is lower than traditional custom night guards. Cheeky is a pricier option, but every three months you are provided a new night guard.
Caring for your Night Guard
Taking care of a night guard is fairly straightforward, taking at most a couple of minutes. Try to get into the habit of cleaning your night guard first thing in the morning. Cleaning a night guard involves removing it from your mouth and rinsing it in warm water. After you rinse it, use a small amount of tooth paste to brush the guard. Finally, rinse it off again and store it in a dry container. It is important to wash out the container once or twice a week with soap and warm water, to prevent bacteria from building up.