What is a Dental Night Guard?
A dental night guard is an appliance that fits in the mouth and is worn during the night. It is worn to prevent clenching and grinding of the teeth. Night guards can be bought in a store or made by a dentist. They are most often made from silicone or molded plastic. Most night guards are shaped like a U and fit easily into the mouth. Since no two mouths are exactly the same, on occasion a night guard may need modified to become a better fit.
Why would someone wear a dental Night Guard?
People wear night guards for many different reasons. One reason is to prevent grinding. People who grind their teeth tend to have problems with soreness in their jaws. Clenching can cause ear and neck pain.
Most importantly, a night guard protects the surface of the teeth from becoming flattened due to clenching and grinding. Many patients who suffer from TMJ also use a night guard. This helps to prevent the jaw from locking during the night. It also helps to keep the mouth slightly open.
Some people may wear a night guard because their partner is a light sleeper. Teeth grinding can sound like nails on a chalk board to some people. A night guard can help to keep the noise of teeth grinding down and allow the partner to sleep better.
What are the different types of dental night guards?
There are several different brands of night guards on the market. This makes it easier for consumers to find a guard that works well for them. Some of the night guards are just a u shaped piece of plastic. Others are moldable to a person's teeth. Some of them you just have to bite into and allow them to harden and others you may have to boil first to make them soft.
People who wear braces should check with their orthodontist before purchasing a night guard. Orthodontic night guards are made differently to allow room for the braces. Most orthodontists will give them to their patients. Some orthodontists may charge a small fee.
Dentists are able to make custom night guards. These tend to be a bit more expensive than store bought night guards, but they fit better as well. Usually an impression is made of the teeth and the night guard is made in a dental lab. The process can take up to 1-2 weeks.
Can children wear dental night guards?
Children can wear night guards if their dentist thinks that it is necessary. A local drug store may have night guards available in children's sizes. The best way to find out who carries them is to call around to a couple different stores. Many times these night guards will come in fun colors to make them more pleasant for children.
A dentist may also be able to order a child sized night guard. A dentist will also be able to fabricate a night guard suitable for a child. It is important that children get a comfortable night guard or else they simply won't wear it.
How to care for a dental Night Guard
Caring for a night guard is easy. It should be rinsed every morning after it is worn. Night guards can also be brushed with a tooth brush and tooth paste to prevent build up. It can also be helpful to soak a night guard in Listerine for 30-60 seconds to get and bacteria off of it. It is important not to leave the night guard in the Listerine for too long as the color of the Listerine may stain the mouth guard.
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