Night Guards

Teeth grinding is not a very common problem, but for those who suffer it it can be serious. The best cure for teeth grinding is to find its cause so that you can stop the problem from its root but that is not always easy – some people have to live their lives with the condition because dentists are not able to determine what it is that causes them to grind their teeth. Most people who suffer this condition will grind their teeth when they are sleep, but there are some who will grind their teeth when they are awake. Eventually the teeth get worn down and expose the roots leading to lots of pain due to exposed nerves.

One way to tackle teeth grinding is to use a night guard. It doesn’t stop one from grinding their teeth, but it will ensure that the teeth themselves don’t get worn down. Here are some frequently asked questions about night guards.

What are night guards?

Night guards are dental appliances that are worn over the teeth usually when one is asleep (or awake, depending on when teeth grinding occurs) to protect the teeth and jaw. They can be made out of acrylic, which is a type of plastic, or they can be made from acetate, vinyl, some kind of rubber or an amalgam of metals such as cobalt and chromium. Your dentist will recommend the best kind of night guard for you depending on how serious your problem is. It is very important to understand that night guards do not cure teeth grinding. If you buy your mouth guard over the counter you will see that some manufacturers claim that their devices can cure grinding – this is simply not true. If you want to cure teeth grinding you should work with an experienced dentist to find out what its root cause is.

How do mouth guards work?

When you wear a mouth guard it absorbs all the pressure that is exerted when you clench your jaws and bite on your teeth. When you grind them all the pressure is absorbed by the guard – your teeth and indeed your jaws do not touch which keeps them intact protecting you from exposed nerves and serious pain.

Are mouth guards uncomfortable?

Many people who are prescribed night guards by their dentists will not wear them because they find them bulky. It is true that a mouth guard will cause some discomfort, but it is much better than the discomfort you will have to endure when your teeth get worn down. You can have your mouth guard fitted – there are dentists who specialize in correcting bruxism disorders and they can help you find a mouth guard that isn’t too uncomfortable. When you get a night guard the best thing you can do is wear it every night – you will soon get used to the feeling of having it in your mouth and will be able to sleep comfortably.

How should I care for a mouth guard?

It is very important to keep your mouth guard clean at all times – it is a perfect place for bacteria to thrive and it can lead to other oral complications if not properly taken care of. Every morning when you take out your mouth guard you should rinse it in warm water and brush it with a soft brush. It is recommended that you brush it with a mouth guard cleaner at least once a week. During the day when you are not using your mouth guard you should leaving it soaking in a mild solution o hydrogen peroxide and water.

Can I eat/talk with my mouth guard on?

You can talk with your mouth guard on so long as it is custom fitted for you. If, however, you buy a mouth guard over the counter it is likely to be rather large so talking will not be easy. As for eating with your mouth guard on, you shouldn’t. Food particles will get trapped between the guard and your teeth and overnight it will be the perfect ecosystem for bacteria to thrive. You should always remove your mouth guard to eat and then clean your teeth before you wear it for the night.

How long does a mouth guard last?

It will depend on the kind of mouth guard that you have and how serious your problem is. If you grind your teeth a lot and buy a mouth guard that is made of plastic it will not last long. However, custom fitted night guards can last for many years. You can tell that your mouth guard is starting to get worn when you start to feel pain in your teeth and jaws – it means that it is no longer thick enough to absorb the pressure of grinding. You should immediately throw it away and get fitted for a new one.

Is it safe to wear a mouth guard during the day?

Some people find themselves grinding their teeth during the day especially when they are stressed. You can wear a night guard during the day but you should have it properly fitted to ensure that it isn’t too bulky for your mouth and allows you to talk as normally as possible. You can have two different mouth guards made, one for the day and another for the night. You should also explore other ways to tackle your teeth grinding because the only way you will get complete relief is if you stop grinding.

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