A night guard is a custom appliance that patients wear when they go to bed to reduce the effects of nighttime teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. The proper name for patients who grind their teeth while sleeping is nocturnal teeth-grinding, and the appropriate term for a habit or activity is only “nighttime teeth grinding” when the patient does it both during the day and at night. If a patient only grinds their teeth at night, it is technically called nocturnal teeth-grinding.
Sleep apnea patients are also at an increased risk of nocturnal tooth-grinding since the two are often associated. Those who experience these symptoms regularly are at a higher risk for damaged teeth and should seek treatment from our dentist at Carlston Dental Group, as soon as possible.
How Do Night Guards Work?
Your night guard will help prevent your teeth from grinding and clenching during sleep. The guard covers your top teeth and should be comfortable to wear throughout the night, as it will protect against damage. If you tend to grind or clench your teeth while sleeping, follow your doctor’s recommendations for wearing the appliance. Most patients will wear their night guard every night. Others may only wear it when they know they will be particularly stressed or anxious. Some even wear the guard during the day if needed. Your doctor will discuss what works best for your specific treatment needs and lifestyle habits. Over time, you may not need to wear the appliance. At that point, you can discuss with your doctor whether to continue wearing it for preventive care. In some cases, patients may need to replace a night guard every few years due to wear and tear on the material. How long you continue to use the night guard will depend on your unique treatment needs.
Different Types of Custom-Fit Night Guards
Soft Night Guard
A soft night guard comprises pliable rubber, which is more flexible than the other two types. This type of night guard is usually used by those with mild bruxism or who clench but do not grind their teeth.
Advantages of a Soft Guard
- They are more comfortable for many people.
- In your mouth, it may feel less heavy or obtrusive.
Hard Mouth Guard
A hard night guard comprises rigid acrylic and will not feel bendable or flexible in your mouth. Those who grind and clench their teeth frequently use this night guard.
Advantages of a Hard Guard
- More durable, especially for severe bruxism.
- Longer life span
If our dentist has told you that you have bruxism or grinding and clenching of your teeth while you sleep, a night guard may be right for you. For more information visit Carlston Dental Group at 2472 Overland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90064 or call (310) 838-0844.