If you suffer from frequent headaches, toothaches, or jaw pain, talking to your dentist about dental night guards could be a good choice. Here is an introduction to dental night guards that will help you understand their function and benefits.
What Is a Dental Night Guard?
A dental night guard is a device designed to maintain space between the upper and lower teeth while the wearer sleeps. These devices look similar to sports mouth guards and are typically made of clear acrylic plastic. Custom dental night guards match the shape and contours of dental patients' teeth perfectly. This allows the guard to prevent the upper and lower teeth from grinding against each other.
What Are the Benefits of Dental Night Guards?
Dental night guards are most commonly prescribed to patients with bruxism, a condition that leads to unconscious grinding or gnashing of the teeth during sleep. Wearing night guards provides relief for people with bruxism by reducing the frequency of headaches, toothaches, and jaw pain. Night guards also protect the teeth from cracks or cavities that can occur as teeth grinding weakens dental enamel.
In some cases, dental night guards may be prescribed for patients with mild sleep apnea. Night guards reduce snoring and airway obstructions associated with sleep apnea by holding the airway open slightly. For patients with mild cases, dental night guards can be a more comfortable alternative to standard oral appliances for sleep apnea.
How Do You Care for Dental Night Guards?
Dental night guards are fairly simple devices, and there are only a few things you need to know to care for them properly. When you remove your night guard in the morning, rinse it with warm water and brush it lightly with toothpaste to discourage bacterial buildup. Allow the guard to dry on a paper towel for a few minutes, and then store it in its case.
Deep cleaning your dental night guard at least once per month will remove bacteria in the small crevices of the device. To deep clean, you can soak your guard in water and denture cleaner or vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. With regular dental hygiene, these steps will prevent any risk of tooth decay from using your dental night guard.
Night guards are easy to maintain and provide great relief for dental patients suffering from bruxism or mild sleep apnea. If you suspect that you are experiencing nighttime dental issues, ask your dentist about a dental night guard.