How Often Should You Wear a Night Guard?

How Often Should You Wear a Night Guard?

Jun 01, 2022

If you often wake up with morning headaches and jaw pain, you could have bruxism. Bruxism happens when a person grinds, gnashes, or clenches their teeth unconsciously. It can happen when awake (awake bruxism), but it’s most common when sleeping (sleep bruxism).

Sleep apnea is a sleep-related disorder where your breathing stops suddenly while asleep. In most cases, it results from airway obstruction.

While bruxism isn’t always a life-threatening concern, regular teeth grinding and clenching can affect your oral and overall wellness. So, it’s always advisable to seek treatment as soon as possible. Signs to watch out for include:

  • Teeth damage like cracks, chips, and breaks
  • Worn-out enamel
  • Flattened back teeth
  • Tooth pain and sensitivity
  • Tired, tight, or locked jaw muscles
  • Loud snoring
  • Jaw, face, or neck pain or soreness
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
  • Morning headaches
  • Pain when chewing

Seek dentist care if you have any of these symptoms. While mild bruxism won’t cause any serious problems, regular and severe bruxism can lead to severe teeth damage, facial pain, tension headaches, and temporomandibular joint disorders.

Treating Bruxism

Generally, it can be challenging to identify the underlying cause of bruxism. Common causes include sleep paralysis, sleep apnea, stress and anxiety, obesity, and taking certain medications like antidepressants.

Your dentist can recommend several treatments like weight loss, therapies, medications, and surgery to address your condition. Along with these treatments, you can wear a nightguard to lessen the effects of teeth grinding and clenching.

What are Nightguards?

A night guard is a dental device worn over the upper or lower teeth to prevent teeth from grinding against each other. While a night guard won’t stop the underlying behavior of grinding and clenching teeth, it will prevent teeth damage and other side effects of bruxism. Usually, night guards have two major types – over-the-counter and custom-fit night guards.

Over-the-counter nightguards are ready-made and available in your local sports or drug store. They come in different sizes, and boil-and-bite models offer a customized fit. An ill-fitting nightguard can hurt your mouth and cause difficulties breathing, worsening bruxism. Some of these mouthguards are low-quality materials that won’t last long.

For a more personalized option, you should go for a custom-fit nightguard. A custom-made mouthguard is according to your specific dental structure. As a result, it fits over your teeth perfectly, offering maximum protection and comfort. It won’t also cause difficulty when breathing or speaking. Contact our Weymouth dentist for customized nightguards near you.

Types of Nightguards

Nightguards usually come in three major versions, namely:

  • Hard Nightguards

As the name suggests, hard nightguards are hard acrylic materials. They are very strong and durable, ideal for severe bruxism or TMJ disorders.

  • Soft Nightguards

Soft dental guards are softer, thinner, and flexible materials. These guards are ideal for mild to average bruxism.

  • Hybrid or dual-laminate nightguards

Hybrid nightguards combine the features of soft and hard nightguards. They are a soft inner core and a harder outer layer. This offers a mix of maximum inner comfort and outer protection. They are perfect for moderate and severe teeth grinding.

How often should you wear a night guard?

How often you should wear a nightguard is really upon your dentist. Your dentist will evaluate your condition and advice you on how often you can wear a nightguard. You should wear a nightguard every night, especially if you have moderate to severe bruxism. After successful treatment, the dentist can ask you to stop wearing it.

Schedule an Appointment Today

Are you interested in custom-made mouthguards in Weymouth, MA, or would you like to learn more about teeth grinding and clenching? Contact Weymouth Dental Associates for more information.

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