How does a night guard work?

By February 4, 2015 November 30th, 2018 Bruxism, General Dentistry

Bruxism, or teeth grinding, usually occurs during sleep. Eight to ten percent of adults grind their teeth, and about one-third of parents report that their children grind their teeth.

Stress, anxiety, sleep disorders, or a misaligned bite can cause bruxism. Regular teeth grinding can cause jaw pain, facial pain, neck pain, earaches, headaches, toothaches, and damage your teeth. A customized night guard from a dentist can help.

What is a night guard?

A customized, dental night guard is an oral appliance made of dental acrylic. The night guard repositions your jaw to prevent teeth grinding. A customized night guard is lightweight—lighter than over-the-counter products—and more comfortable, because it is designed to precisely fit your teeth and mouth.

A night guard should be worn regularly, so if it doesn’t fit properly—as with over-the-counter appliances—it can cause problems with your bite and jaw.

How do you get a night guard?

You may know that you grind your teeth. But your dental hygienist or dentist may notice signs of wear on your teeth, or bulging on the sides of your teeth. Your dentist will recommend a night guard. If you choose to receive one, impressions of your teeth will be taken to ensure a proper fit.

Your dentist will send the impressions to a laboratory to make the night guard. You will return to the dentist to ensure that the appliance fits properly. Adjustments can be made to ensure proper fit, or the night guard may be returned to the laboratory to be re-made.

Your dental hygienist will give you instructions on how to wear and clean the night guard. As you wear it, you will likely notice that you have less neck pain, jaw pain, and facial pain, and fewer headaches.

If you have dental insurance, it may provide some coverage for a night guard. Contact your dental insurance company, or your dentist to find out the details for your plan.

This post is sponsored by Naperville dentist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.