Night Guard 101: Everything You Should Know
One of how dental works are successful is through the use of different oral appliances. They provide a new way of treating patients and reducing the symptoms resulting from dental challenges. One such oral appliance is a night guard, which is paramount for treating certain illnesses.
What Are Night Guards?
They are plastic oral appliances made as protectants to protect teeth from damage. They are types of mouthguards but different in the fact that they are made for use at night. Typically, mouthguards are created to go over the upper teeth. However, when it comes to nigh guards, your dentist can customize them so that you have either the upper or lower guard. It all depends on the purpose for which you need the night guards.
Why Night Guards Are Needed?
Different patients need night guards for different reasons. These are not the type of oral appliances you get over the counter as is the case with typical mouthguards. Usually, a dentist has to examine your oral cavity, make a diagnosis, then determine night guards as the suitable treatment for your problem. Some of the conditions that night guards can be used to resolve in dentistry include the following:
- Bruxism – is a condition that features excessive grinding of teeth. Ideally, it happens when you clench your facial muscles, transferring much of the force thereof to your teeth. This ends up damaging your teeth by forming deep pits and resulting to enamel thinning. When night guards are used, however, they ensure that the pressure and force from clenching are transferred to the plastic mouth protector instead of your teeth.
- Treating sleep apnea – obstructive sleep apnea is a common problem that can be diagnosed by sleep doctors as well as dentists. In dentistry, one of the ways to treat this disorder is using a night guard. This oral appliance will open the airway by keeping your upper and lower jaw open. In this case, this mouth protector works by bringing the lower jaw forward, opening up the airway. This will serve the function that your natural reflexes fail to work properly when you sleep. The consequence thereof is improved breathability, which then alleviates the symptoms of sleep apnea.
- Treating temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) – is a condition that results from jaw injury or excessive teeth clenching. While jaw surgeries and other treatment alternatives can work, night guards can as well be used for treatment. The mouth protectors will improve the symptoms of bruxism, which will relieve the pressure exerted on your jawbone and joint thereof.
Are Dental Night Guards Worth It?
Depending on the issue being treated and its complexity, you will appreciate the significance of night guards in dentistry. They are the less invasive and more comfortable alternative for treating dental issues mentioned above. Otherwise, your dentist would have to turn to other procedures that may involve surgery. Still, night guards are not a cure for dental issues. They help reduce the severity of the symptoms you experience, therefore, allowing you to lead a comfortable life.
Further, night guards are usually customized based on the mold of your teeth. This ensures that you have a mouth protector that fits perfectly with your teeth. With such comfort, you will understand why night guards are worth your investment. Besides, if they are helping treat your dental issue, aren’t they already worth it?
How Long Will the Night Guard Last?
For your treatment, your dentist has to create a plan that will track the progress and changes noted afterward. Based on how well you adhere to the treatment and use the oral devices recommended, you can estimate the durability of your night guard. Most of these mouth protectors last between a year and ten years. The more you wear your night guard, the quicker it wears off. However, it also depends on how severe your problem is, particularly regarding teeth grinding. The material used to create your night guard will also impact how long the appliance lasts. Therefore, before deciding on getting night guards, have your dentist run you through the available alternatives so that you get a night guard that perfectly matches your needs regarding durability.