If your dentist has said you have bruxism, you’re probably wondering about the benefits of a night guard and whether it’s really worth the money for a piece of plastic that doesn’t seem comfortable at first.
However, a night guard is a big investment in your oral health. A night guard can reduce unpleasant bruxism symptoms and protect your teeth from long-term damage. Additionally, it can help you sleep better at night.
The Many Benefits of a Night Guard
Whether you have bruxism (teeth grinding and jaw clenching) that wakes you up at night or your dentist was the first to notice the effects of your teeth grinding, you can likely benefit from this dental appliance.
- Night Guards Relieve Bruxism Symptoms
Morning headaches, jaw pain, tooth pain, neck pain, face soreness, worn teeth, cheek and tongue abrasions, jaw popping (TMJ) … If you have any of these symptoms, you could be clenching and grinding your teeth at night.
As a teeth clencher, I know how unpleasant these symptoms can be. It’s hard to start your day on a positive, productive note when you wake up uncomfortable and in pain. Before I wore a night guard, I would frequently wake up groggy and unable to function. I often had to take Tylenol or Advil to get rid of nagging headaches that greeted me almost every morning.
A night guard can relieve or even eliminate these symptoms. That’s because it acts as a barrier between your top and bottom teeth to absorb some impact from teeth grinding and clenching.
While I still have the occasional rough morning (don’t we all?), when I wear a night guard, I only wake up with the occasional rather than daily headache or sore jaw joint. That’s a huge reduction in my symptoms.
- Night Guards Improve Sleep
Not only are bruxism symptoms unpleasant when you wake up in the morning, but they can keep you or anyone sharing your room awake at night, especially if your grinding is loud.
Fortunately, according to Dr. Tali Waksman of Centenary Dental, a night guard can improve your sleep by reducing your jaw muscles’ stress and alleviating jaw pain, face pain, and headaches. As you might imagine, it’s much easier to get a good, restful night of sleep when you’re not in pain.
- Night Guards Prevent Tooth Damage
Even if your teeth grinding and clenching doesn’t seem to bother you, a night guard is also a very important preventative part of your dental care. In addition to symptoms like sore jaw muscles and tooth pain, bruxism can also cause tooth damage including chipping, cracking, and fractures. Bruxism can even damage your teeth so much that you then need fillings or extractions — costly and incredibly inconvenient measures.
The good news is that a night guard can help prevent grinding teeth from causing tooth damage. While it won’t stop your bruxism habits, it provides a protective barrier that takes the stress off your teeth.
How to Be Comfortable Wearing a Night Guard
If you can’t wear a night guard comfortably, you’ll be right back to losing sleep and waking up groggy and uncomfortable. One of the best ways to make sure you’re comfortable wearing your night guard is to choose the type of night guard that will marry comfort and protection.
The best choice will be different for everyone based on your preferences, previous dental work, and the severity of your bruxism. You have two main choices to make when picking a night guard:
- Type of night guard:
Night guards can be made of a soft rubbery material, a hard plastic material, or a hybrid material that’s soft on the inside and hard on the outside. Heavier grinders typically need harder night guards, but many people find soft night guards more comfortable. If you don’t know which type to choose, chat with your dentist about the severity of your bruxism and which night guard they recommend.
- Night guard placement:
Because your night guard is a barrier between your top and lower teeth, you only need to wear one night guard on either the top or the bottom teeth. Again, consider talking to your dentist to help you decide which one to choose, upper or lower night guard.
Regardless of what type you choose, your night guard needs to be comfortable. Also, you need to actually wear it to see the benefits. To get used to the feeling in your mouth, you can try wearing your night guard during the day. However, give it some time — your body is adjusting to having a strange object in your mouth.
If your night guard goes beyond discomfort and actually hurts you, you’ll need to troubleshoot solutions. You could need a different type of night guard or a better fitting one.
Where to Get a Night Guard
You have two main night guard options: over-the-counter or custom-fit.
Over-The-Counter Night Guards:
These are a cheaper option, and they’re designed to fit most people. Many of them use a boil and bite technique in which you use hot water to soften the night guard and then bite into it so it forms an impression of your teeth. You can find these over-the counternight guards at your local drug store or through an online retailer like Amazon.
Custom-Fit Night Guards:
Professionally fabricated custom night guards are available through your dentist and professional dental labs like Pro Teeth Guard. To fit this type of night guard, you’ll take an impression of your teeth, which professionals will use to create your night guard in a dental lab. These are a pricier option (but less expensive than dentist-provided options). However, they are designed specifically to fit your mouth, thus better protecting your teeth. A custom-fit night guard won’t slide off your teeth or move around while you sleep.
Dental Night Guards: Invest in Your Smile
There’s no denying the benefits of wearing a night guard. Even if you don’t love popping it into your mouth every night, the pros far outweigh the cons. You’ll sleep better at night with reduced symptoms and the knowledge that your teeth are protected. Plus, you’ll be free from the frustrating day-time symptoms of bruxism like headaches or temporomandibular disorders (TMD).
At Pro Teeth Guard, you can get a custom-fit mouthguard at an affordable price. We make our night guards in a professional dental lab, and we back our night guards with our 110% money-back guarantee. Not only is the mouthguard custom-fit, but you can choose the type of night guard you want and whether you want to wear it on your top or bottom teeth. We want you to be comfortable while you protect your smile.