Do you want to know everything there is to know about night guards? Then, you've come to the right place! We will talk about what they are, who needs them, and how our specialists at Swansboro Family Dentistry recommend taking care of them. So whether you're a night guard newbie or just looking for some tips on how to keep your guard in tip-top shape, read on!
What are night guards, and what do they do?
Nigh guards act as a protective shield for your teeth, guarding them against the grinding and clenching that can happen when you're sleeping. They are typically made of clear plastic to be less noticeable than other types of orthodontic appliances (like braces), or they may have a thin metal frame with tiny rubber bands attached to hold it in place on top of your teeth.
Some people refer to night guards by their brand name: TMJ mouthguard. Some night guards were initially designed for those who suffer from headaches brought on by temporomandibular joint disorder, more commonly known as TMD or jaw pain. Our specialists recommend night guards to anyone who suffers from jaw pain, regardless of whether they grind their teeth or not. Even if you are just an occasional grinder, you must have a mouthguard to protect your teeth.
How to choose the proper night guard for you
Not all night guards are created equal! When shopping for a mouthguard, be sure to look for comfort and a good fit. It should not be too bulky or cause you to gag when you wear it, and it should fit snugly over your top teeth without leaving any gaps.
It's also essential to find a night guard made from a durable material. Chewing on complex objects can damage less rigid guards, so if you tend to chew on your nails or bite your lip frequently, you may want to opt for a more robust guard. Custom night guards or those made from a cast mold of your teeth at our office are typically the most durable and comfortable to wear. If you have worn night guards in the past but aren't happy with how they feel, it might be time for an upgrade!
How to care for your night guard
Your night guard is a tool that keeps your teeth safe from harm, but it won't take care of itself! So here are some tips for keeping your guard in tip-top shape:
If you have a custom-made night guard, bring it to us every six months to check the fit and make sure everything looks good. We recommend getting replacement guards twice per year if you grind or clench excessively over an extended time since the forces exerted on them will wear down their structural integrity. Also, it would help to replace any damaged guards immediately as they may not protect your teeth adequately anymore. Finally, remember that just because something isn't visibly broken doesn't mean there aren't cracks underneath!
When brushing with toothpaste, be gentle and don't scrub vigorously, as this can damage the thin edges of your guard. Instead, use a soft-bristled brush to clean it, or rinse with water if you prefer not to use toothpaste.
Do not leave your night guard soaking in the liquid for long periods - leaving them submerged for hours at a time can cause bacteria to build up and lead to bad breath! If necessary, soak it for no more than two minutes at a time before brushing off any residual food particles (such as by rinsing under running water) and allowing it to dry completely before placing it back into your mouth.
If you are experiencing jaw pain, headaches, or other symptoms related to teeth grinding and clenching, it is vital to seek treatment. Our specialists at Swansboro Family Dentistry can help diagnose the issue and recommend the best course of action for you. In addition to a custom-made night guard, this may include therapies such as stress management counseling or dental appliances that realign your jaw. Don't wait until the problem becomes worse - contact us today at 910-421-3022!