Nightguards and Sports Guards
Due to stress and anxiety, malocclusion, jaw disorders, airway issues or sleep disorders, many people grind or clench their teeth at night. Called bruxism, grinding your teeth can cause damage to your teeth and restorations, pain in your jaw, headaches and other dental problems. Left untreated, bruxism can lead the the loss of teeth and expensive repairs. In these cases, a night guard is recommended to protect the teeth and muscles while you are sleeping.
For patients who participate in contact sports at any level, sports guards can be made to protect your teeth. These sports guards play an important roll in keeping your teeth from breaking during a hit or fall, and can also help protect your from a concussion. A sports guard is only used during athletic activity and is a simple appliance to make and maintain.
How we Make a Night guard or Sports Guard
The fabrication of a nightguard or sports guard is a two visit process.
At your first appointment you will get fit for your oral guard. We will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth, and measure how your jaw comes together. We then send these dental impressions to a local laboratory that specializes in the fabrication of nightguards and sports guards. This dental laboratory will make a guard to custom fit your teeth and mouth.
At your second visit, we will deliver your guard. At this appointments, we will check the fit and bite of your appliance and make any adjustments needed. We want to make sure you are comfortable before your appointment is complete.
Caring For your Night guard
Taking care of your night guard or sports guard is an important step. When you take out your guard, we recommend cleaning it with a non-abrasive soap and water, then storing it dry in the case provided. Avoid using abrasive soaps, toothpastes and brushes as this can lead to damage of your guard. Also avoid putting the appliance in boiling water to prevent warping of your appliance. We recommend keeping your guard in its case and out of reach of children and animals. Many patients have lost their night guard to pets who like to chew on them.
We also recommend bringing your guard to your dental appointments. At your cleaning and preventative care appointments, our Albuquerque dental office can deep clean your appliance. When fillings, crowns, or other work is being done we will also want to verify that your guard will still fit around and new work done. These appointments also allow your dentist to verify that the night guard or sports guard is still fitting properly, make adjustments as needed, and is still in working condition. Guards take a lot of abuse and should be checked regularly to make sure they are still functional.
How do I Know If I need a Night guard
As part of your preventative care appointments, your dentist will check your teeth for signs of wear and tear. If we see signs of clenching or grinding such as heavy wear, breaking teeth or excessively worn out dental restorations, we will inform you of the possibility of parafunctional habits. We can then discuss the treatment options to help stop this process.
Some patients who should have a night guard will have signs and symptoms. Some typical symptoms include:
- Pain in the TMJ (jaw joint)
- Generalized tooth pain, especially in the morning
- Headaches that are worse in the morning
- Pain on biting
- Tenderness when touching the muscles of the head and neck
- Broken dental work
- Spouse or parent report of hearing grinding while you are asleep
If you have any of the above signs or symptoms or are concerned about your need for a night guard, let us know. We are here to help you.