When a patient is found to be suffering from night grinding or bruxism, he makes a decision to see a dental specialist about it. Sometimes the patient does not know he is a bruxer. A sleeping companion will alert him of the habit or a dentist will the wear facets and suggest the presence of the condition. Regardless of how the condition is identified, the patient will be requiring treatment; and the most common management option requires the wearing of a night guard.
A night guard is a removable appliance that is worn by the patient during sleep, to protect his teeth and jaws from the damage that is caused by the habit. It is not necessarily a treatment procedure because the grinding habit is not exactly resolved; but the wearing of the appliance reduces the harmful effects of teeth grinding.
There are three types of night guards that a patient can choose from. There is the ready-made appliance that comes in standard sizes; the boil-and-bite appliance that offer some customization; and the custom-made appliance that dentists prefer and commonly prescribe. Custom dental night guards are different and rather effective, mostly because of how they are fabricated. The process in which they are made is quite precise, so as to offer patients with customized fit, true comfort and proper function.
Step 1: Impression Taking. Commercially sold night guards are different from the ones fabricated by the dentist because custom-made night guards are made to fit the patient exactly. This is made possible by taking an impression of the mouth. A negative copy of the upper and lower teeth is taken, so that a plaster cast can be created from it. The cast is also called the model cast or mould and it is used by the dental laboratory to make the custom night guard.
Step 2: Night Guard Fabrication. The dental mould plays a key role in how the night guard is fabricated. The material (soft, dual laminate or hard acrylic) is shaped around the mould to form a perfect-fitting protective barrier between the upper and lower teeth. The night guard can be made for either the upper or lower teeth. After the night guard is made, the mould is used to check how the night guard fits and how the bite comes together. Fine adjustments are made if necessary.
Step 3: Delivery. As soon as the night guards have been fabricated, they are delivered to the patients along with proper instructions for wear and care. It comes with a case, where they could be kept whenever they are not worn. It is seldom that some discrepancy will be encountered because the night guards are made from the cast created from the dental impression. They should have a snug and comfortable fit, and should be stable in the arch. It should not rock and it should not press on any part of the mouth to cause pain and discomfort.
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