Night guards and mouth guards are designed to protect the integrity of the teeth against injuries caused by grinding and sports. Night guards and mouth guards provided by a dentist offer a higher level of quality than prefabricated ones. Since they are molded to fit the teeth perfectly, professionally made mouth guards/night guards provide better protection than store-bought styles. They are more durable and generally last longer. When a patient is diagnosed with bruxism, teeth grinding problem, a few remedies may be suggested to resolve the issue. The most popular of which is a night guard. Not exactly a treatment, the mouthguard or night guard does not really stop the habit of teeth clenching and grinding, but it helps the patient prevent possible damage to his teeth. A mouth guard is an oral appliance that the patient wears during sleep so that it can absorb all the grinding and clenching forces.
Sports guards are designed to protect your mouth from being damaged by an impact while you are playing sports. A good sports mouth guard will protect your teeth, gums, and cheeks. Ordinarily, you only need to wear a mouth guard on your upper teeth; however, if you have braces, you will probably want to wear a guard on the bottom, too. This will give you extra protection against cutting your cheek. A sports mouth guard is usually made with a thicker material and given its purpose, it is made to extend to cover the entire jaw, even the gum issue so that the entire mouth can be protected.
Both a night guard and a sports guards are meant to protect teeth, but they protect your teeth in different ways. A night guard functions by protecting the teeth surfaces from being worn down from constant grinding and clenching. A sports mouth guard is primarily worn to protect the teeth and mouth in case of sudden, hard impact.
Night guards are designed to wear while you are sleeping. There are several different types of night mouth guards which are designed for the following purposes:
• Improve air flow to reduce snoring
• Improve air flow to help sleep apnea sufferers
• Protect teeth from grinding and clenching
Longevity of Night Guards and Mouth Guards
The typical lifetime of a professionally crafted night guard/mouth guard is several years (three or four). However, once normal wear-and-tear begins to show signs of creating damage to the mouthpiece, it should be replaced. Patients who grind their teeth excessively while sleeping will notice that their guards might not last more than a couple of years (two). This is due to the fact that the grinding wears down the material, creating fissures or holes in the mouth guard.
Difference in Material of Sports Mouth Guards and Night Mouth Guards
Sports mouth guards are made of softer, more pliable material. This material is designed to absorb the force and actually redistribute it to reduce its severity. Some over-the-counter sports guards are even made of a material that is designed to soften in hot water and conform to your teeth.
Night mouth guards are made of a harder material. They must be hard and smooth so the teeth will easily slide over the surface. Because they are made with harder material and need to be formed to your teeth and mouth, night guards should be made by your dentist. He or she will take a mold of your teeth and have the mouth guard made. It will fit snugly over your teeth and stay firmly in place for optimum protection at night.
Types of Mouth Guards:
• Stock mouth protectors: They are inexpensive. They are bulky, make breathing and talking difficult, and they provide little or no protection. Dentists do not recommend their use.
• Boil and bite mouth protectors: The "boil and bite" mouth guard is made from thermoplastic material. It is placed in hot water to soften, then placed in the mouth and shaped around the teeth using finger and tongue pressure.
• Custom-fitted mouth protectors: They are individually designed and made in a dental office or a professional laboratory based on your dentist's instructions. Due to the use of the special material and extra time and work involved, this custom-made mouth guard is more expensive than the other types, but it provides the most comfort and protection.
Benefits of Night Guards and Mouth Guards
• Greater comfort
• Longer lasting
• Better fit
• Greater protection
Mouth guards offer protection not only for the teeth but also for the gums, cheeks, lips, and tongue. They can protect against a variety of injuries when worn during sports, including chipped teeth, broken teeth, cuts on soft tissues (gums, cheeks, and lips), and tooth loss.
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