Many people have a teeth grinding or jaw clenching habit (bruxism), which can happen during the day or at night. Those who occasionally grind their teeth often experience no signs or symptoms. However, perpetual teeth grinding can cause wearing down and cracks of the teeth, along with jaw pain and discomfort. Headaches, neck aches and stiffness/pain of the cheek muscles are also common effects of grinding.
What is a nightguard?
A nightguard is a removable acrylic appliance that provides a barrier between the upper and lower teeth. It is commonly worn on the upper teeth during sleep. Nightguards cannot actually stop the bruxism habit, but it does prevent its negative implications.
How is a nightguard made and how long does it take?
Moulds of your teeth are taken and sent to a dental laboratory. After a week or so, the dentist will test the fit of the nightguard in your mouth. Your nightguard should be comfortable to wear and any adjustments will be made during the same appointment.
What are the types of nightguards available?
There are two types of nightguards; soft and hard. In general, soft nightguards are indicated for less severe cases and for first time users. Of course, the dentist will advise which one is more suitable for your case.
Can I eat or drink while wearing my nightguard?
Eating or drinking hot liquids while wearing the nightguard isn’t recommended. Your nightguard should only be worn during sleep.
How do I care for my nightguard?
Rinse the nightguard every morning with warm water and soap. Do not use toothpaste or hot water. Once a week, deep clean the nightguard in a denture cleansing solution for not more than an hour at a time.
It is advisable to bring your nightguard with you during your dental recall visits so the dentist can check its fit and if a new is needed due to wear and tear.
What is a sports mouthguard?
A sports mouthguard is similar to a nightguard, but it is to be worn during athletic activities to protect teeth from traumatic injury. It is made in a similar manner as nightguards. Standard shaped mouthguards can be purchased at pharmacies but it it generally recommended to get a custom shaped one made by your dentist.