Night Guards and Sports Guards
A night guard is an appliance much like a retainer that people put in their mouths to protect their teeth while they are sleeping. This device is commonly used by people who suffer from bruxism or excessive nighttime tooth grinding or clenching.
This grinding and clenching puts pressure on the jaw, which can cause temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems, severe headaches, ear pain, and neck pain, as well as causing excessive wear to the teeth.
Thin, transparent, and horseshoe-shaped, dental night guards are created from hard but moldable plastics. The night guard fits over either the upper or the lower teeth, creating a cushion between them and absorbing the impact of the grinding or clenching. Night guards can help reduce enamel damage, jaw joint inflammation, and irritation to the gums. Overall, most night guard wearers report they have less pain and sleep better.
In order to be truly effective, night guards need to be custom-made for each individual. It typically takes two dentist appointments to receive a night guard. During the initial visit, the dentist takes a bite record and makes an impression of the patients teeth. These will be used to create a customized night guard that allows for proper teeth alignment. During the second appointment, the patient gives the night guard a test run and the dentist makes any necessary adjustments.
- Awareness of clenching or grinding at night
- Tooth wear, recession, or other signs resulting from clenching or grinding at night
- Waking up with tired jaws or sore muscles
A set of highly detailed impressions are taken of your teeth and measurements are taken of your face and jaws and then are sent to a lab for custom fabrication. In about a week, the night guard is tried in and fitted to your mouth. Adjustments are made so that your teeth all hit evenly on the guard. Usually it is necessary to return after about 2 weeks of wear for an additional adjustment.
A sports guard is used to protect the teeth from trauma in high-impact sports. Many team coaches are now requiring participants to have a sports guard to engage in many high-impact sports where the risk of dental trauma is high.
Impressions are taken and sent to a lab for custom fabrication of the sports guard. This typically takes 3-5 working days.