Could a night guard for sleep help you?
Do you grind your teeth while sleeping? If yes, then you know the pain and discomfort it causes. However, thankfully, there is a solution to this problem.
Night guards, as we will discuss in this blog post, provide a range of benefits for quality of sleep, oral health and overall well-being, in addition to some drawbacks.
What is a night guard?
A night guard is a dental device that is designed to be worn while sleeping. It is constructed of hard or soft material and can be custom-made to fit your teeth. The purpose of a night guard is to prevent teeth grinding and clenching, which is a common sleep disorder known as bruxism.
In addition to protecting your teeth, your sleep may also become more refreshing. Wearing a night guard realigns your jaw position, bringing your lower jaw slightly forwards. This helps to keep your airway open, which can improve sleep quality and reduce snoring.
Customised night guards
A customised night guard is specifically designed to fit your unique teeth and mouth shape. It can be tailored to your own dental needs and uses quality, durable materials. Customised night guards can provide greater comfort and protection than generic night guards.
Benefits of using a night guard
- Reduces teeth grinding and clenching, preventing tooth damage and sensitivity
- Eases jaw pain and headaches associated with bruxism
- Promotes better airway, sleep quality and reduces snoring
- Protects dental restorations such as crowns and bridges
- May prevent or alleviate symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
How to find the perfect night guard for you
Choosing the right night guard for your specific needs can be a challenge. Here are some steps you can take with your dentist to choose the right night guard:
- Schedule an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist can evaluate your teeth and determine if you need a night guard. If you have bruxism or any other dental condition, your dentist may recommend a specific type of night guard.
- Discuss the different types of night guards available. Your dentist will explain the different types of night guards and the benefits of each. Hard night guards are made from acrylic and are more durable, while soft night guards are made from a pliable material and are more comfortable. These are the most common types.
- Consider the severity of your bruxism. The severity of your bruxism will determine the type of night guard you need. If you grind your teeth aggressively, a hard night guard may be recommended. On the other hand, if your bruxism is mild to moderate, a soft night guard may be sufficient.
- Get a custom-fit night guard. Custom-fit night guards are uniquely tailored to the shape of your teeth, ensuring maximum comfort and effectiveness. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth and send it to a dental laboratory to create a night guard that fits perfectly.
- Follow your dentist’s recommendations. Your dentist will provide you with instructions on how to use and care for your night guard. It is important to follow these recommendations to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of your night guard.
Proper maintenance and care for your night guard
To maintain the effectiveness and hygiene of your night guard, it’s important to clean it daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and mild soap or denture cleaner. After brushing, rinse it with cool water and store it in a clean and dry container. Avoid hot water or extreme temperatures as these can damage the materials and cause warping. As part of your daily care routine, check your night guard for signs of wear and tear. Bring it along to your dental checkups so your dentist can evaluate it and recommend replacement if necessary.
Drawbacks of using a night guard
- Discomfort or difficulty in getting used to wearing the night guard
- May cause excess saliva production or dry mouth
- Possible damage to the night guard due to grinding
- May not completely eliminate teeth grinding and clenching
- Regular cleaning and maintenance required
Listening to your dentist’s advice and following proper maintenance and care guidelines can reduce these issues, but it is important to know about them. Be aware that using a misshapen or worn out night guard can cause other dental issues, so keep a close eye on its condition and consult your dentist if you need to replace it. If any of these issues become significant, be sure to discuss them with your dentist so you can mitigate any potential drawbacks and maximise the benefits of using a night guard.
Using a night guard for sleep has significant benefits for preventing health problems caused by teeth grinding and clenching, as well as improving sleep quality, and protecting dental restorations. However, it also has a few drawbacks such as discomfort and maintenance requirements. On balance though, if your dentist has recommended a particular night guard, any effort it takes for you to care for and correctly use it pales in comparison to the overwhelming benefits of a good night’s sleep and healthy teeth.