Night Guards: How Do They Help?

Adults most often use night guards to prevent teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. Nocturnal teeth-grinding affects many people, and if you’re one of them, your dentist will most likely prescribe a night guard. Night guards are available either custom-made by a dentist or bought over the counter. Here’s what you need to know about night guards in Lakewood, Colorado, including when you might need one and which type is best for you. 

Why Might I Need a Night Guard?

Consistent headaches, multiple night wakings, a sore jaw, and/or other symptoms with certain teeth can be a sure-told sign of teeth grinding. In most cases, these symptoms are fairly universal, meaning it’s difficult to pinpoint them to a certain cause. However, these symptoms and bruxism are often seen together. 

It’s common for us to clench and grind our teeth while we sleep. Some of us do it every night, and others only in times of significant stress. Of course, other factors could be at play, too, such as: anxiety, facial pain, acid reflux, alcohol use, tongue tie, nasal obstruction, lack of tongue and facial muscle strength, and mouth breathing have all been linked to sleep bruxism. Some people have no symptoms whatsoever, and others get to the point of discomfort or may develop cracked or broken teeth over time.  

Most of us are unaware of our habit because it usually happens during sleep. But once we are aware of our jaw tightening up, it becomes easier to find ourselves doing it during the day, too. Regardless of the reason, a night guard (also called a splint), is a device that helps keep the jaw and teeth in the correct position throughout the night.  

Types of Night Guards

Soft Night Guards

Soft night guards are made from a soft, flexible material. It’s usually a pliable material that is best for people with mild bruxism or for those who unintentionally clench but do not grind their teeth. We often find they can cause people to clench more!

Hard Night Guards 

Hard night guards are made from a hard acrylic material. It’s not pliable like soft guards are, but instead holds the teeth tightly in the correct position. These are best for people who both grind and clench their teeth. These are custom made to your specific bite.

Dual Laminate Night Guards

Dual-laminate night guards combine two materials: a soft, interior layer and a hard, exterior layer. These night guards are best for people who are somewhere in between a mild clencher and a severe clencher. These are also customized to your specific bite.

How Is a Night Guard Made?

There are three different types of night guards:

  • Night guards that are custom-made by a dentist
  • Pre-formed night guards available at stores
  • Boil-and-bite night guards, also available at stores

Store-bought night guards are usually available in drug stores and are typically made with clear plastic.

They are affordable and prevent teeth grinding. However, they need to be replaced frequently, and because they are stock size, many people find the plastic uncomfortable, bulky, and thick.

Another store-bought option is the boil-and-bite night guard, which can be boiled and molded to your teeth. Also, an affordable option, like the preformed mouth guards, many people find the plastic too thick and without proper monitoring your teeth can shift.

Even though it is convenient and cheap to buy a night guard in a store, there are a few crucial reasons why you should opt for one made professionally by a dentist.

Durability

The cost of a dentist-made night guard is far higher than a store-bought one for a reason. Dentists use higher-quality materials to create strong night guards that give your teeth the best possible protection and last several years. Store-bought night guards often only last for a year or less, as they are made of cheaper plastic.

Customization 

When making your night guard, we will take an impression of your top and bottom teeth. A plaster cast is created from this impression, which is then sent to the dental lab. Soft, dual laminate or hard acrylic materials are shaped around the mold to create the perfect fit for you. Your night guard should fit snugly and stably, and there should be no pain or discomfort.

Because a customized night guard is made specifically for you, it will train your teeth, mouth, and jaw to rest in their correct places. 

Schedule An Appointment for Custom Night Guards in Lakewood, Colorado

If you clench or grind your teeth, or know of someone who does, it’s best to get help from a dentist as soon as possible. At Fox Point Dental in Lakewood, Colorado, we provide custom-fit night guards in Lakewood, Colorado for your needs. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Turner today! 

To learn more about our restorative dentistry services at our Lakewood, CO dental clinic, visit this page here.

About the Author

Dr. Elizabeth Turner is a whole-health, family dentist in Lakewood, CO who provides general, restorative, and cosmetic dental care. She focuses on the mouth-body connection and helps her patients smile confidently, breathe clearer, and live healthier lives. 

Recent Posts

Healthy Oral Development For Infants

Boosting Your Baby’s Oral Development with the Ninni Pacifier: A Guide for Parents in Lakewood, Colorado

Read More
Dental Problems in Lakewood, Colorado

The Most Common Dental Problems in Lakewood, Colorado and How to Prevent Them

Read More

Are you ready to smile more, breathe freely, and live better?