An Occlusal Guard (Night Guard) protects teeth against damage caused by clenching and grinding. It works by creating a physical barrier between your upper and lower teeth so that you bite against the plastic rather than wearing down your teeth. Most people are unaware that they grind (also called bruxism) or clench their teeth as it usually happens when they are sleeping. It is often a person's partner, or dentist, who first notices that they are grinding their teeth. People tend to go through phases of grinding teeth, and the times one grinds the most, is the best time to wear a night guard to prevent permanent damage to your teeth.
When should I wear my Night Guard?
Occlusal Guards are usually worn at night (Hence they are usually referred to as Night Guards) when people are not able to stop themselves from grinding or clenching their teeth. If you are a severe grinder, your dentist may also recommend that you wear it during the day, but this is not usually required. In our society, stress is always present, to the point where we aren't even aware that we are under stress, therefore it is recommended to wear nightly.
What is are Night Guards made of?
A night guard is made of hard acrylic. For those that have one, it may have become cloudy and discolored over time; however, this does not affect functionality of a night guard. Night guards can be made for either the upper or lower teeth, but usually for the upper teeth since it’s more comfortable.
How long does an a Night Guard last?
Depending on severe your grinding is, it will typically, will last between 5 - 10 years. If you haven't worn your night guard in a while, your teeth may have shifted and the guard may fit very tightly, or not at all. Many times, a visit to your dentist for adjustment will be necessary to fix this problem.
Taking care of your Night Guard
When wearing your Night Guard, don’t eat or drink anything other than water as this may discolor it. After removing your Occlusal Guard in the morning, brush it with your toothbrush (NOT toothpaste), and rinse with cold water. Never rinse your Night Guard with hot water as this can distort the shape and cause it to no longer fit. When not in use, place in your night guard container to air dry.
Custom Night Guard Price
A Night Guard cost will vary greatly from dentist to dentist. It can be an extremely worthwhile investment in the long run. It may prevent you from needing more expensive dental work in the future, such as broken fillings, cracked teeth (crowns), and periodontal problems (bone loss).