Prevention is always better the cure. Whether it is teeth grinding or sports, mouthguards can protect your teeth.
What is a Mouth Guard?
A mouthguard is a removable dental device worn to protect teeth. Your dentist can recommend a nightguard if you're suffering from bruxism. This oral device can separate top teeth from bottom teeth and reduce teeth grinding at night. Dentists also use custom-made mouthguards to manage temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. If you play contact sports like football, you may need to wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth and minimize the risk of dental injuries.
What are the Types of Mouth Guards?
Mouthguards fall under two categories – medical and sports mouthguards. Both protect your teeth against traumatic injuries, but they look and feel different and serve specific purposes. Medical mouth guards are customized for patients with bruxism or teeth grinding. Here are the three types of mouthguards:
1. Custom-Fitted Mouth Guards
These customized mouth protectors provide the best fit and the highest level of protection. To get a custom-fitted mouthguard, you'll have to visit your dentist's office. Your Toronto dentist will examine your mouth and take impressions of your teeth using a mould. They'll send the dental impression to the lab to custom-build a mouth guard that meets your unique needs. For example, if you have TMJ disorder, you'll need a dental night guard for TMJ that is hard enough to realign your jaw while you sleep. Patients with bruxism will require customized night guards for teeth grinding. They are more flexible than mouthguards for treating TMJ disorder. Your Toronto dentist can also develop a night mouthguard for clenching to protect your teeth.
2. Boil-and-Bite Mouth Guards
A boil-and-bite mouthguard is a DIY protector. It is customizable to your needs, like custom-fitted mouth guards. When you buy a boil-and-bite mouthguard, you get a thermoplastic material rather than a premade product. So you have to reshape it yourself to fit your teeth. First, place the boil-and-bite thermoplastic material in hot water to soften it. Second, put the softened material in your mouth and press it onto your teeth. Third, make sure it is perfectly aligned and bite down for about 20 seconds. Fourth, remove your boil-and-bite mouthguard and run it under cool water to harden. Since this type of nightguards are not precisely assessed and fabricated, they may do more harm than good.
3. Stock Mouth Guards
Unlike other types of protectors, Stock mouthguards are premade with a one-size-fits-all design. As a result, these ready-to-wear devices rarely fit perfectly, and you cannot customize them to your mouth and teeth. In most cases, they are either too tight or loose, increasing the risk of jaw pains. In addition, this type of night guard cannot guarantee protection against traumatic injuries.
Can you 3D-print a mouthguard?
Yes, you can! Innovative clinics use 3D printers to develop custom-filled mouthguards in their dental office. First, your dentist converts your teeth impression into a design using CAD or CAM software. Second, they upload the design into a dental 3D printer. You'll receive your 3D-printed night guard in a few hours, customized with precision-guided lasers to guarantee a perfect fit.
How much do Mouth Guards Cost?
The cost of mouthguards in Toronto varies depending on the type of night guard, material, and other specifications. One average, Boil-and-Bite and Stock mouthguard costs between $100-$400, while custom-fitted night guards go for $500-$700 in Canada. But you cannot put a price on your smile. Although a custom-fitted night guard costs more than Boil-and-Bite and Stock, it provides the highest level of protection for your teeth.
How to Clean Night Mouth Guard
You wear mouthguards in your mouth, so keeping them clean is crucial to your overall health. The main health risk with oral devices is the accumulation of bacteria. To avoid bacteria growth, clean your night guard after use and schedule deep cleaning at least once a month. For daily cleaning, use toothpaste, mouthwash, baking soda, or soap and water. Dip your mouthguard in cold water and apply one of these cleaners to your toothbrush. Then, brush the night guard lightly and rinse off the cleaner before drying. Use stronger denture cleaners like vinegar and hydrogen peroxide for monthly deep cleaning. To protect your oral health and overall wellbeing, keep your night guard clean at all times.
Dental Night Guard Side Effects
Although dentist-prescribed night guards are safe, some people experience excessive salivation. This side effect usually affects first-time users. Wearing night guards enhances airflow in and out of your mouth can dry it out, leading to a dry mouth. But night guard's side effects are mild.
Here are frequently asked questions about mouthguards to enhance your understanding:
How long do nightguards last?
The longevity of mouthguards varies depending on the severity of teeth grinding, usage frequency, and material. Custom-fitted night guards are the longest-lasting options, with a lifespan of 5+ years. Over-the-counter mouthguards use inferior materials and last only for a few years. Custom-fitted mouthguards may be more expensive, but they are durable and cost-effective in the long run.
Should you wear a night guard on your upper or lower teeth?
It depends on your specific dental needs. Nightguards usually cover the upper teeth. However, some people may need a dental night guard for lower teeth or upper and lower teeth. Your dentist can recommend lower guards if you're uncomfortable wearing upper guards at night. But upper guards are ideal for nocturnal protection because they don't move around.
Can night guard causing teeth to shift?
No, night guards cannot shift teeth. These mouth guards are designed from flexible materials. They fit loosely over your teeth. Unlike retainers and braces, night guards don't have the structural strength necessary to shift teeth. This is why you should never wear night guards in place of your doctor-prescribed retainer.
Should you wear a nightguard every night?
If you suffer from bruxism, wear a mouth guard every night. It can help prevent tooth damage due to teeth grinding. It would be best if you only stopped wearing a nightguard when the jaw clenching and teeth grinding stops. Patients with severe bruxism may need to wear a nightguard every night for a lifetime.
How can I stop clenching my jaw without a mouthguard?
Bruxism is one of many causes of tightness in the jaw, which manifests as jaw clenching. Other contributing factors include stress, anxiety, and excessive chewing. So, relaxing exercises of the jaw and facial muscles can reduce the severity of jaw clenching. Changing your diet can also help relieve tightness around the jaw.
Why Toronto Smile Design - Yorkville Dental?
Toronto Smile Design's Dr. Johnson Ozgur is a Toronto dentist with a Master's Degree in Oral Surgery. Dr. Johnson is experienced in corrective and preventative treatment plans and dental products, including mouthguards, retainers, dental implants, TMJ treatments, porcelain veneers, and more. To get custom-fitted nightguards, contact Toronto Smile Design - Yorkville Dental today!