About Night Guards
Do you grind or clench your teeth at night or just wake up with a sore jaw? Do you play a lot of sports? A night or mouth guard can be a simple way to prevent the need for costly dental work—or even tooth removal— down the line.
What is a Sports Guard or Night Guard?
A night guard for teeth is something that you place in your mouth before going to bed. It sits over the teeth and protects them. Our dentist may suggest a night guard for teeth grinding, or a night guard for teeth clenching.
The guard forms a protective layer between your top and bottom teeth. That way, if you grind or clench your teeth involuntarily while asleep, your teeth aren’t damaged. Night guards help to save the tooth enamel by absorbing some of the pressure.
A sports guard works similarly. In this case, however, you’ll use it while playing sports and its purpose is to prevent trauma to the teeth. Normally speaking, the device is made from plastic and designed to fit over your upper teeth. It can also be fitted to your lower teeth. In some circumstances, guards for both may be made, but this is usually not necessary.
The more comfortable the guard is, the more use you’ll get out of it. That’s why it’s good practice to have it fitted by our dentist. If you find it difficult to breathe or talk when the guard is in, you need to get a different one.
A well-fitted option will allow you to speak and breathe as normal. Once you get used to having it in, you won’t even notice that it’s there anymore.
Tips for Sleeping with a Mouth Guard
If you do feel that you need this form of protection, you have two choices – buy a ready-made guard or get one made. The ready-made option is cheaper than a custom guard, but it's not likely to fit exactly. Also, the materials that it is constructed out of might not be the best.
It’s better to come in and let us take a mold so that you get an exact fit. We can choose materials such as Invisalign that are light and barely noticeable in your mouth. Invisalign is very thin and very strong, and so there’s a lot less bulk with this option.
It’s also a good idea to have two guards made – one for the upper teeth and one for the lower teeth. That way, you can figure out which option suits you better. Do try sleeping with the upper and lower guard in place on alternate nights and see which feels more natural for you.
Once you’ve experimented a bit, and have decided which suits you better, you can speak to us about getting a new guard in a thicker material.
Keep the guard next to your bed and pop it in just before going to sleep. This reduces the amount of time between putting it in and falling asleep. If you’re finding it bothersome, even after a few nights, then you need to change tacks.
Start wearing it for an hour or so during the day, just so that you get used to the feeling. That way, when you do put it in at night, you’ll feel more comfortable. Hang in there— it won’t take long to get the hang of it. When you do, you can skip the hour-long sessions during the day.