Dental Night Guard for Bruxism


Dental Night Guard

So you’ve just had your six-month dental checkup and you were told you need to consider getting a dental night guard. What exactly is a dental night guard and what is it for? Read on to find out!

What’s a Dental Night Guard for?


Dental night guards are often the treatment of choice for patients who have a history of grinding their teeth while they sleep. Also known as bruxism, tooth grinding typically occurs at night when patients have no way of knowing they even do it. Chronic bruxism can lead to several problems with teeth and even the jaw. If left untreated, bruxism can cause broken, chipped, or cracked teeth, headaches, and TMJ/TMD. Bruxism can be treated and should be done so early to avoid future problems.

What Types of Night Guards Are Available?


There are two types of night guards: professional, custom-made and over-the-counter, boil and bite. While the night guards found at drugstores can work to reduce tooth grinding, there are several benefits to choosing a custom night guard made by a dentist. To begin, custom-made night guards use detailed molds of your teeth, making them a more comfortable choice. Your dentist will also consider the alignment of your jaw during the fitting process to ensure your night guard won’t place unnecessary stress on the joint which could lead to other problems. Lastly, while a store-bought night guard may seem attractive at first due to the lower cost, custom-made night guards usually last up to 10 years, making them a more cost-efficient option in the long run.

How to Care for Your Night Guard


The Night Guard that was custom made for you is a hard clear acrylic exterior with a hygienic soft thermoplastic inner lining. Please follow these instructions, as well as instructions provided by your dentist for optimal results in use and longevity of your appliance.

Wear:

➛Brush and floss your teeth before insertion.

➛When placing the guard in. If guard feels tight, place the appliance in warm water for 15-20 seconds. This will quickly soften the inner lining allowing for ease of placement.

Care:

➛Upon removal, the appliance may be cleaned with a soft toothbrush and toothpaste. Or antibacterial hand soap.

➛Use care not to brush too abrasively on the soft inner lining. DO NOT use an abrasive toothbrush i.e. Denture toothbrush

➛NEVER soak your appliance in mouthwash or alcohol-based rinses

➛NEVER soak your appliance in bleach or harsh chemicals

➛NEVER boil your appliance, it can distort.

➛Keep appliance away from animals. They will chew appliance.

➛Your appliance can be soaked in a denture cleaner for a maximum of 20 min, 1 time a week

➛Store your night guard in a dry case when not in use

Replacement:

➛Over time the appliance can discolor due to age.

➛Guards should be brought in at your annual exam to a sure it is providing adequate protection.

➛Be aware that eventual replacement of your appliance will be necessary depending on the severity of grinding as well as regular wear and tear. You can expect your appliance to last anywhere from 3-5 years.

Are There Other Treatment Options?


Night guards may be the most common treatment method to stop tooth grinding, but it certainly isn’t the only option. Other recommended treatments may include methods of stress reduction, limiting the intake of caffeine or medication with stimulants, or perhaps orthodontics to straighten teeth and realign the jaw.

Signs of Bruxism


➲Flat or chipped teeth
➲Tooth sensitivity
➲Waking up with sore jaw muscles
➲Neck or facial pain

If you happen to notice any of these signs and suspect you may be grinding your teeth, schedule an appointment with a dentist to perform a thorough evaluation to determine if bruxism is the root of what you’re experiencing. If it is, he or she will talk with you about your treatment options and work together to decide which one may be best for you.
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