For many of us, a good night's sleep is something to always look forward to. So when things like teeth grinding come in your way of a good night's rest, it can be tough to deal with the reality that something so necessary is so easily disrupted. But what if we told you that there's a simple dental device that could not only improve your sleep but also protect your smile? Enter the world of night guards — a dental accessory that has completely changed oral health and sleep habits for plenty of people worldwide.
What Are Night Guards?
A night guard is a custom-made oral appliance often used to protect your teeth from the damaging effects of bruxism or teeth grinding and clenching, which usually occurs during sleep. Made from durable plastic material, it's designed to fit comfortably over your upper or lower teeth, creating a barrier that helps prevent wear and tear on your teeth's enamel.
How Night Guards Protect Your Teeth While You Sleep
Night guards work by providing a protective layer between your upper and lower teeth. When you unconsciously grind or clench your teeth while sleeping, the force is absorbed by the night guard instead of being exerted on your teeth. This prevents enamel erosion and reduces the risk of other oral health issues such as cracked or chipped teeth, tooth sensitivity, and even temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Teeth grinding can also cause headaches and facial pain, but night guards can help alleviate these conditions and other symptoms associated with teeth grinding.
How to Maintain and Care for Your Night Guard
Taking care of your night guard is just as important as using it. Proper maintenance ensures that your night guard remains effective, hygienic, and comfortable to wear. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to do it:
Clean your night guard daily: This is the most important step in maintaining your night guard. Use a non-abrasive toothpaste and a soft toothbrush to clean all surfaces of the guard gently. Rinse it thoroughly under cool water to remove any residual toothpaste or debris. Avoid using hot water as it can warp the plastic and affect the fit of your night guard.
Deep clean once a week: In addition to daily cleaning, consider a deep clean once a week. You can use a specialized denture cleaning solution or a mixture of vinegar and hydrogen peroxide. Soak your night guard in the solution for about 30 minutes, then rinse it thoroughly.
Dry it properly: After cleaning, shake off any excess water and let your night guard air dry completely. This is crucial as a damp environment can encourage bacterial growth. Place it on a clean, flat surface or a dedicated drying rack.
Store it safely: Always store your night guard in a ventilated case when not in use. This protects it from dust and damage. Remember to clean the case regularly, too!
Regularly check for wear: Inspect your night guard regularly for signs of wear and tear. If you notice any cracks or thinning areas, or if the fit becomes uncomfortable, it's time to replace it. Regular dental check-ups will also help ensure your night guard is still serving its purpose effectively.
Can Night Guards Be Used Daily?
Yes, they can! Night guards are designed to be worn every night, especially for chronic teeth grinders. However, the frequency of use largely depends on the severity of your teeth grinding and your dentist's recommendation.
For severe bruxers, using a night guard every night can significantly reduce the symptoms and protect the teeth from extensive damage. On the other hand, for those with mild bruxism or who grind their teeth due to temporary stress, occasional use might be sufficient.
It's important to remember that while night guards protect your teeth from grinding, they do not cure the condition. They are part of a comprehensive treatment plan that should also include stress management techniques and lifestyle modifications.
Additionally, wearing a night guard doesn't mean ignoring your oral hygiene routine. Always remember to brush and floss your teeth before putting your night guard in for the night. Regular dental check-ups are also important to monitor the condition of your teeth and the fit of your night guard.
Take the First Step Towards Better Sleep and Oral Health With A Night Guard!
Don't let teeth grinding steal away your peaceful sleep and compromise your oral health. Reach out to us at Aesthetic Smiles to learn more about dental guards and our other general dentistry services in Portland, Oregon. We can help you get a custom-made nightguard that fits perfectly and comfortably. And if you're having trouble rooted in poor jaw alignment, ask us about Myoligner for a more long-lasting solution to oral pain.