Dentist Davis, CA
If you awaken with headaches, tension, a sore jaw, have teeth with worn down enamel, tooth sensitivity, and chipped or cracked teeth, you could be grinding and clenching your teeth at night. This is a condition known as bruxism. A nighttime mouth guard can serve as a protective barrier between your upper and lower teeth to prevent this pain and damage. At Davis Dental Practice, we create custom-fit night guards for our patients.
What Can Night Mouth Guards Treat?
In addition to bruxism, which can lead to serious dental problems in the future, wearing a mouth guard at night can serve as a treatment for other issues as well.
A nighttime mouth guard can also be beneficial for those suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, which affect the joints that connect your jaw to your skull. These disorders can cause pain in your jaw and the muscles that control jaw movement. A nighttime mouth guard can reduce the strain on these joints, providing much-needed relief.
In some cases, mouth guards can be used as an effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, a disorder that causes breathing interruptions during sleep. These mouth guards are specially designed to keep the airway open, which improves breathing and reduces snoring.
Types of Night Guards
There are many options when it comes to choosing a mouthguard. However, not all night guards are created equal, especially the ones you can purchase pre-made at the grocery store.
Stock Mouth Guards
The most common type found is a one-size-fits-all style that is not molded specifically for you. These guards are certainly better than nothing, but not by much. They offer minimal protection to and are often too large as they only come in one size.
Boil and Bite Mouth Guards
The next type is referred to as a boil and bite-style guard. They require that you boil them at home and submerge them in cool water. You must then bite down on the guard to shape it to your teeth.
Custom Made Mouth Guards
While they provide a more custom fit, improper fitting procedures can reduce their effectiveness. If you bite down too hard with this type of mouthguard, then the guard will not have enough material left between your upper and lower rows of teeth, thus providing little to no protection.
These mouthguards are inconsistent in terms of quality. With that in mind, it is better to let our licensed dental professionals create a custom mouthguard for you.
Your Mouthguard Should Be Made By Our Dental Professionals
Only dental professionals can provide custom-fitted mouthguards, and it is the only recommended option.
A custom-made mouthguard is the best choice to protect your teeth. Custom-made mouthguards are sculpted from laminated thermoplastic, polyurethane, or acrylic. Your mouthguard will cover your teeth. Since it will be specifically made for your mouth and teeth, it will fit perfectly. Your mouthguard will be durable, easy to clean, and should not cause issues with your breathing or speech.
What Are the Steps for Obtaining a Mouthguard at Davis Dental Practice?
Getting a night mouthguard is an investment in your health. It's important to shield the sensitive tissues of your teeth and gums from teeth grinding and clenching during the night.
To get the right fit, you will need two visits with us. At your first appointment with us, we will take impressions of the inside of your mouth so we can create plaster-cast models. These will be sent to a lab where your mouthguard is produced and turned into a custom fit for you. We will get back to work after receiving it from our offsite lab technicians.
On the second visit you will pick up your custom-made night guard. If it needs any minor adjustments, we can make those for you while you wait.
Caring for Your Night Guard
Your mouthguard is an incredibly important piece of equipment and one that should be cared for to ensure it lasts as long as possible. It's easy enough to look after a fresh new appliance. You will be given instructions on how best to care for your mouthguard.
Cleaning Your Night Guard
Every time you use your mouthguard, rinse it with cold water and wash it using a toothbrush and soap. Avoid using hot water as it could distort or warp the shape of your nightguard. Do this before and after using your mouthguard.
If you cannot clean your guard right away then make sure not to forget about it. Rinse the device with cold water before storing it so saliva doesn't dry on it; this will also help keep bacteria at bay while waiting for a more thorough cleaning. Ideally, it is best to clean it right after using it.
It is best to avoid using toothpaste, which is slightly abrasive and can scratch your mouthguard. You can soak it with tablets used for cleaning dentures, or in antimicrobial solution, as well as soap and water, but remember to rinse it thoroughly before placing it back in your mouth the next night.
Storing Your Night Guard
When you store your mouthguard, keep it in a hard, perforated case. This type of case will permit airflow and keep bacteria from growing on your mouthguard.
Avoid High Temperatures
Protect your mouthguard from high temperatures to keep it from distorting. Keep your mouthguard away from direct sunlight, hot water, and hot surfaces. If your mouthguard becomes distorted or torn, replace it.
What Can Happen to My Teeth if I Don't Wear My Nighttime Mouth Guard?
The constant clenching and grinding of teeth at night is not known by most patients. If they knew they were doing this and could control it, they likely would stop. Bruxism can cause your enamel to become worn down, create tooth sensitivity, and even cause teeth to become chipped or cracked. In addition to the pain and discomfort this causes, restorations such as dental crowns and composite fillings may be needed to repair teeth. Teeth can also become loose, causing gum recession and periodontal disease in extreme cases.
Protect Your Teeth with a Nighttime Mouth Guard
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, our dentists at Davis Dental Practice can help. Call us today at (530) 756-5300 to schedule an appointment. We will evaluate your teeth and determine if a night mouth guard can help!