1. In a nutshell what is a Night Guard?
A night guard is an appliance used to treat patients who suffer from teeth grinding at night (bruxism). The function of the night guard is to create a barrier between the upper and lower teeth to protect the teeth and gums from the effects of teeth grinding.
2. What causes Teeth Grinding and Bruxism?
The possible causes for teeth grinding are; uneven and crowded teeth, premature contact between the upper and lower jaw, on lateral excursion, as well as life circumstances such as stress.
3. What are the different types of nightguards?
There are three different types of nightguards made from different materials, at different strengths and support different levels of teeth grinding.
- Soft night guard: This night guard is for patients who suffer from mild forms of teeth grinding and is well suited for those who suffer from teeth clenching. This is because the soft material is cushion enough for mild clenching and grinding forces whilst protecting teeth structure.
- Dual Laminate night guard: This night guard offers more protection and is well suited for patients who suffer from severe teeth grinding. This is due to the guards soft on the inside and hard on the outside structure which offers greater protection and lasts longer.
- Acrylic night guard: This night guard is very durable and hard in material being made from plastic. Therefore, it is well suited for patients whose teeth grinding ranges from heavy to severe.
4. Are there any alternatives to a night guard?
One of the alternatives to a mouth guard in terms on longevity and price is a mouth splint. A mouth splint is no more effective, however, it is more expensive as it lasts longer than a mouth guard.
There are many things a patient can do to train themselves to stop their teeth grinding or clenching. One of these is to relax and unwind before going to sleep by calming activities such has having a bath.
It is important to be aware of any life related circumstances that could be related to your teeth grinding or clenching, for example stress. Stress is easier to act upon and control if it is aware of and can be reduced by relaxing activities before going to bed to get a good night’s sleep, with no grinding or clenching.
A patient can also implement techniques to reverse their teeth grinding habit, for example training yourself to relax your jaw and creating a barrier between your upper and lower teeth with your tongue. To discuss these techniques further visit our London Islington clinic Dental & Skin.
5. How long will my nightguard last?
The longevity of your nightguard will depend on which type you have and your age.
A soft night guard will last around the time of 6 months. A Dual Laminate night guard will last around the time of 9 months up to 5 years and an Acrylic night guard will last around the time of 12 months up to 5 years. This variation is due to the different materials that are used to make each night guard. How well you look after your night guard will also affect how long it will last.
The age of a patient will also affect how long a night guard will last. This is because younger patients such as toddlers and young children are still suscpetible to changes in their mouth structure and growth. To accomodate these changes the night guard will need to be changed more frequently.
6. How often do I need to wear my night guard?
Our dentists recommend wearing your guard overnight and every time you think you are grinding or clenching your teeth. Some people grind teeth when driving, when at gym, when at work or just spontaneously for few hours. We recommend carrying your mouth guard with you at all times, and if you find yourself grinding or clenching then simply wear your guard for a few minutes or until resolved. In addition our dentists recommend continuous wearing of your night guard for 3 months.
7. Tips when sleeping with your night guard
At Dental & Skin, we understand that it is difficult to get used to wearing a guard therefore we ensure that your guard is soft, thin and comfortable. We would suggest initially wearing your guard for a few hours during the day for a week or two before attempting to try at night.
A habit is built up over time, so don’t be discouraged if you are not used to your night guard after just a few nights.
Be persistent and maintain a routine. Wearing your night guard inconsistently will not help in your getting used to it.
To improve comfortability, wear your night guard before going to bed. This way it won’t be a surprise of how it feels when you are preparing to go to sleep. This is a useful tip for light sleepers.
8. Tips on how to look after your night guard
It is important to wash your night guard in cold water. Hot water can damage the material of the guard, especially if it is made from plastic and will therefore decrease its durability and function.
Wash your night guard as if you were cleaning your own teeth, with a toothbrush and toothpaste. Do this everyday after wearing your night guard.
You can also soak your night guard in a mix of water and mouth guard cleaner. This will remove bacteria and keep the guard fresh.
9. Why a nightguard at Dental & Skin?
At Dental & Skin we make high quality and durable laboratory guards (also supplied the London Olympics). We offer a range of colours and designs and a personalised service.
Once we have made your night guard and fitted it for you, we won’t just leave you there. We offer review and follow up appointments to all our patients to see how you are getting on.
Visit our London Islington clinic to receive a custom made, personalised and informative service.