Over-The-Counter Night Guard vs Custom-Made Night Guards

Over-The-Counter Night Guard vs Custom-Made Night Guards

Posted by Ken Caryl Dentistry on Jan 19 2023, 09:46 PM

Over-The-Counter Night Guard vs Custom-Made Night Guards

A night guard is a custom-made hard plastic oral appliance that is worn while sleeping.  It helps protect the teeth from damage caused by grinding and clenching, which can wear down teeth and cause jaw pain and headaches.

What Is A Dental Night Guard?

A night guard is an oral device that can be used for many treatment purposes, including the treatment of bruxism. Bruxism is the term used to describe habitually grinding the teeth and clenching the jaw. Although some people may do this only once in a while, regular teeth grinding can result in a number of oral health problems, including tooth sensitivity or pain, TMJ disorder, and even tooth loss. To prevent this damage, a night guard can be custom designed to fit your teeth comfortably and to prevent your upper and lower teeth from touching.

Why Wear A Dental Night Guard?

A night guard is a thin, transparent plastic mouthpiece that fits snugly over your teeth to prevent them from grinding or clenching while you’re asleep. This oral appliance is custom fabricated by your dentist for maximum comfort and protection.

Most patients benefit from wearing a night guard to prevent or treat bruxism or teeth grinding and jaw clenching. A night guard is often recommended for long-term relief. Studies suggest that patients who wear a night guard are eight times less likely to experience the effects of bruxism than those who do not receive treatment. Your dentist may recommend a night guard if signs of bruxism are present or if there has been damage to the biting surfaces of the teeth.

Wearing a night guard won’t just protect your smile—it can also relieve other symptoms such as headaches, earaches, and overall soreness in the head and neck. In addition to protecting your oral health, a night guard can improve your quality of life! Ask your family dentist during your checkup about whether a night guard might be right for you.

Over-The-Counter Night Guards

Over-the-counter guards are soft plastic mouthpieces that you can buy at most drugstores.   They generally look similar to a mouthguard worn while playing sports and are intended to be a one-size-fits-all solution. An over-the-counter nightguard is typically made of acrylic plastic. The night guard fits over the top and bottom teeth and then rests against the gums.

While OTC devices may work for some people, they are not an effective treatment for sleep apnea or bruxism. These appliances do not have any jaw support and do not hold in place well throughout the night. Besides, they do not offer the same level of protection and comfort as custom-made night guards. And there are chances that the OTC night guard can affect your bite health.  Since the OTC nightguard is not custom to your mouth (and a softer material), patients report an increase in grinding and chewing of their nightguard, which can lead to TMJ problems long term.   Additionally, these appliances can be made using materials that can irritate the mouth and throat over time.

Custom-Made Night Guards

A custom-made night guard is a device that fits only your mouth and is designed by your dental team to address your unique concerns. An over-the-counter nightguard is typically a one-size-fits-all mouthpiece, which means it’s not designed to account for your jaw alignment, teeth spacing, or unique bite pattern. A custom-made night guard helps to protect your teeth and jaw from damage caused by grinding and clenching your teeth at night. Your custom-fit mouth guard will be designed to fit comfortably in your mouth so that you can wear it while you sleep without discomfort.

In addition to being more comfortable than an over-the-counter nightguard, a custom-fit mouth protector is much healthier for your teeth and jaw. 

Custom night guards do a much better job of preventing symptoms associated with sleep apnea and bruxism than over-the-counter guards. They also work more comfortably because they are designed and made to fit your own teeth and your jaw alignment. In addition, your dentist can pick from different materials depending on what is best for you.  Normally, custom nightguard are less bulky and will not cause irritation to soft tissues like gums and cheeks.   For these reasons, many dentists recommend custom night guards to their patients who suffer from nighttime teeth grinding and clenching.

Ken Caryl Dentistry offers the best dental services to maintain your healthy smile. For more details, call us at (303) 973-5280 or visit The Courtyards at Deer Creek 7631 Shaffer Pkwy Suite B, Littleton, CO 80127. 

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