No matter what type of night guard you choose, the purpose of a thermoplastic night guard is to protect your teeth and jaw from the symptoms of bruxism and TMJ. Nighttime teeth clenching or grinding may result in symptoms like headaches or jaw pain.
Some people find immediate relief from symptoms as soon as they start wearing a thermoplastic night guard. But even if you never notice your symptoms, your dentist should be able to catch them. A night guard could save you from your current symptoms and the possibility of your teeth chipping or cracking.
For heavy grinders, hard night guards are typically more protective than soft ones but aren’t always the most comfortable. Thermoplastic night guards provide a nice middle ground between hard and soft mouthguards. They are more comfortable than traditional hard night guards, but they provide more protection than traditional soft night guards. Continue reading to learn why this might be the right type of night guard for you.
Is a Thermoplastic Mouth Guard Right for You?
Thermoplastic night guards are made of durable hard acrylic material, which makes them ideal for heavy grinders and clenchers. These guards provide a secure layer of protection between your teeth. They can be fitted to your upper or lower teeth, and, because they’re custom-fit night guards, they’ll give you a very secure and snug feeling.
One reason some people shy away from traditional hard night guards is they can feel uncomfortable and rigid, but thermoplastic night guards provide a more comfortable fit because of the unique properties of the material.
On the other hand, some people — even those who aren’t heavy grinders — prefer thermoplastic night guards due to their comfort. Also, because soft night guards are made of a gummy, pliable material, some people are tempted to chew on them. In this case, a comfortable thermoplastic night guard is a great option.
The material in thermoplastic night guards softens when exposed to warm water, resulting in a perfectly molded fit for your teeth. One of the main benefits of this comfortable fit is it makes you more likely to actually wear your guard.
Of course, every night guard comes with a price, and hard night guards are typically the most expensive option. The question is does dental insurance cover night guards? Speak with your insurance company first. If you order a thermoplastic night guard from your dentist, it could cost between $600-$1,000, depending on your insurance coverage. Mouth guards Online retailers like Pro Teeth Guard, however, offer professionally made thermoplastic night guards at a much lower price.
How to Use a Thermoplastic Night Guard
It takes slightly more work to use a thermoplastic night guard compared to other types of night guards, but the extra step is worth the comfortable fit.
Before you pop your night guard in your mouth, you’ll rinse it in warm or hot water to soften the material. Once it’s soft and slightly pliable, place it over your teeth so the softened material will mold perfectly to every angle of your teeth. As the material cools, it will harden again, giving you that strong protection of a hard night guard with a secure and comfortable fit.
As with any night guard, the occlusal splint might feel strange in your mouth at first. As long as it doesn’t cause pain, give yourself some time to get used to it. If you feel that your night guard doesn’t mold to your teeth well, try using hotter water or giving it more time to warm before you place it in your mouth.
If you’re used to wearing a retainer or a hard night guard without thermoplastic technology, your thermoplastic night guard might not initially feel like it fits well. However, remember the guard hardens as it cools, so it slowly molds to perfectly fit your teeth. You may not feel the night guard pop into place like a retainer or other hard night guard.
Other Types of Night Guards
Thermoplastic night guards aren’t your only option, and your dentist might recommend a different type of splint depending on the severity of your bruxism, your previous dental work, and other factors.
Over-the-counter night guards:
The night guard cost is different according to your product. The OTC night guards are cheaper than custom-fit night guards, but they don’t provide as much protection. The material is not usually as durable as custom-fit night guards, and they won’t fit your teeth as securely. However, with the low price and convenience of buying them over-the-counter, they are a popular option.
Custom-fit night guards:
Your dentist might also call these occlusal splints. These night guards are professionally fabricated in a lab using impressions of your teeth. While they tend to be more expensive, they also offer better protection for your teeth and jaw. A tip: You can save money by ordering these directly from dental lab companies like Pro Teeth Guard. There are a few types of custom-fit night guards:
Soft night guards are made of soft and pliable plastic, and they work well for people with mild bruxism. They provide a cushion between your teeth, and many people find them more comfortable than hard night guards.
Dual laminate night guards are made of two different materials: hard material on the outside and soft on the inside. The hard outside layer provides thorough protection to your teeth while the softer inner layer provides comfort. The soft inner layer of a dual laminate guard stays soft, unlike the thermoplastic material that hardens when it cools.
Hard acrylic night guards are made of a very hard material, inside and outside. While they might not be as comfortable as the options with softer materials, they provide excellent protection and are ideal for extreme grinders. Hard acrylic night guards do not soften under hot or warm water like Pro Teeth Guard’s hard thermoplastic night guard.
Choosing the Right Type of Night Guard
If you know your bruxism is severe and are ready to relieve your symptoms, a thermoplastic night guard can be an excellent option to make you feel comfortable and wake up refreshed.
Not every type of night guard is right for every person. To make the decision easier and ensure your new night guard fits your oral health, consider talking with your dentist.