During the day, you probably find it pretty simple to protect your teeth. You brush and floss them when you wake up and before you go to sleep at night. In between, you make sure to treat your teeth well throughout the day, maybe adding another brushing session at lunchtime.
What happens when you’re asleep, though? What protects your teeth then?
For some people, the answer is a nightguard.
What Is a Nightguard?
A nightguard is a plastic dental device that fits snugly over your upper or lower arch of teeth. The nightguard serves as a barrier between the exposed tops of your teeth. In the morning, it is removed, cleaned and stored for its next use.
Who Is a Good Candidate for a Nightguard?
Not everyone will need a nightguard, of course. Typically, two types of patients are good candidates for nightguard usage: those who present bruxism symptoms and those with TMJ disorder.
Bruxism is the proper term for tooth clenching or grinding. People with bruxism bring their teeth tightly together during the night, grinding them against each other. Over time, bruxism can lead to excessive decay, cracks and breaks on the molars.
TMJ disorder often goes along with bruxism. Individuals diagnosed with TMJ disorder have difficulty comfortably keeping their teeth aligned in a neutral position because of jaw joint issues. They may grind their teeth during rest in an effort to get the jaw into a less painful position.
Nightguards can protect the teeth during bruxism episodes and when clenching.
What Are Some Benefits of a Nightguard?
When worn by children, teens and adults who require a barrier between their upper and lower teeth, nightguards offer many advantages:
- They keep the teeth healthier and reduce the chances of excessive enamel wear and cavity development.
- They keep the jaw in a neutral position, which can boost the comfort level of patients with TMJ disorder.
- They can last for many years.
- They are made specifically for each patient.
Why Should You Get a Nightguard From a Dentist?
If you think you could use a nightguard, you’ll want to talk with your dentist first. Dentists can help you get high-quality nightguards made from the type of plastic best suited for your situation.
Retail stores sell kits for one-size-fits-most and boil-and-shape nightguards. However, over-the-counter nightguards make weak substitutes for their professional dental-grade counterparts.
The nightguard that comes from your dental practice will be designed to seamlessly fit against your teeth, giving you the best fit possible.
What Are Tips for Getting Used to a Nightguard?
Learning to sleep with a nightguard can take a little patience and practice. Some individuals find it challenging at first to nod off with their nightguard in place.
Give it time and keep wearing your nightguard diligently. Over time, it’ll become second nature to have it in your mouth as you drift off.
How Can You Take Care of a Nightguard?
Nightguards require relatively little special care. Before storing yours in the morning, you may want to brush it with your toothbrush and a little toothpaste. Then, rinse it, dry it and put it away.
Every week, you can give your nightguard a deep cleaning by submerging it in a glass with a denture cleaner tablet. Leave the nightguard in the fizzy solution as directed for the best sanitization.
Setting up a Nightguard Consultation Appointment
Want to learn more about getting a nightguard? Call your dentist to set up a consultation.
Need a family dentist or considering switching dentists? Dental Choice would love to hear from you. Get in touch with our team!