What is a Night Guard?
A Night guard or “niteguard” is a device that you wear at night that helps to prevent tooth grinding, a process which in turn can lead to jaw pain and other dental problems such as teeth chips and cracks. While the majority of night guards are worn on the top jaw, some patients sometimes do wear guards on the bottom jaw. And because the night guard stays in your mouth overnight, it’s important to clean your mouthguard daily.
Hard and soft guards
Night guards can be made from hard materials or soft materials, and if you need a night guard, we will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type of material, and about what approach is indicated for your specific treatment needs.
What is grinding and what causes grinding?
Grinding of the teeth is the process by which the jaw muscles are moved in an irregular fashion (parafunctional) that lead to teeth wearing (or grinding) against one another. There are many factors that can lead to tooth grinding, the most common one being stress.
Can grinding be fixed?
Yes and no. Grinding that is caused by muscle tension due to stress can be relieved if the stressor is relieved. When jaw pain from grinding is acute, we will sometimes recommend NSAIDs in addition to warm/cold compresses and a soft-food diet. In other cases, where grinding is caused because of the shape or position of teeth, fillings or crowns, we try to make adjustments to relieve the grinding.
What about athletic guards?
Athletic guards and night guards may look similar to each other, but they are appliances that serve very different purposes. Athletic guards are designed to be worn while playing contact sports or sports in which there is a high risk of injury to the teeth. If you or your child is playing a contact sport such as basketball, football, hockey, or lacrosse, a custom-made mouth guard is highly recommended.