Up to 31 percent of adults suffer from bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Teeth grinding is particularly important to dentists because it can result in damage to the teeth or dental restorations. The activity can also induce temporal headaches and migraines, and temporomandibular disorders.
What is a Night Guard?
They may be referred to as a night guard, mouth guard, nocturnal bite plate, bite splint, oral appliance, occlusal guard, or dental guard by dentists. However, the function is all the same. A night guard is a removable intra-oral appliance that is placed over the teeth–either the top or the bottom teeth. The American Society for Testing and Materials defines a mouth protector as, “a resilient device or appliance placed inside the mouth (or inside and outside) to reduce mouth injuries, particularly to teeth and surrounding structures.” While only the surface of the teeth is physically covered by the night guard, its presence in the mouth protects the whole mouth and the jaw. As it props the jaw open and keeps the back teeth separated, the introduction of the device can immediately relieve pain and reduce damage to the canines and molars. Dental Economics’ Dr. Gordon Christensen has stated, “It has been my experience, after hearing comments of dentists on the lecture circuit and from our controlled research findings, that the concept of placing a small, discluding piece of resin in the anterior of the mouth - which disallows any other tooth contact- has been successful when compared to conventional occlusal splints.”
Bruxism and Night Guards
Bruxism is a chronic movement disorder identified by teeth grinding and jaw clenching. While bruxism during the day is prevalent among females, sleep bruxism is common among both genders. Whether it occurs during the day or at night, the adverse effects are present and can endanger your oral health, and the jaw’s temporomandibular joint, and increases the risk of headache, migraine, ear, and jaw pain, as well as increased sleep difficulties.
The night guard is a tension-suppression device that is FDA-approved (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) for inhibiting bruxism, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), and migraines. Because the appliance fits over either the top or bottom teeth, a barrier is formed between both, relieving the muscle tension that causes bruxism or TMJ. Dentists will recommend a night guard to a patient if they complain of discomfort in their jaw, neck, and trouble sleeping. Or the obvious wear and tear on their occlusal surface tell a dentist that this patient is grinding at night.
Different types of The Dental Lab custom night guards
Let’s discuss the type of custom night guards that are available at The Dental Lab and why each one is an option. The Lab offers three different types of custom night guards: soft, hard, and a combination of both. All of our custom night guards have been molded to specifically fit a patient’s mouth to protect against the damages caused by bruxism. Molds are taken at the dentist’s office and sent to us at The Dental Lab where the guard is made from high-quality materials proven to last a very long time. This high level of customization enables our technicians to control the thickness of the guard, depending on the level of grinding that is done by the patient. Through professional fitting done with a dentist and dental lab, patients can enjoy a better night’s sleep, knowing that their custom night guard has stopped habitual teeth grinding.
Soft night guards are optimum for patients who need little protection. Their grinding and clenching are not severe and just require a slight barrier between the teeth. The soft material of this guard is a pliable, comfortable, and secure option for those seeking light coverage.
However, at our lab, we find we have higher success with hard or combination night guards. Patients who suffer from bruxism usually come to learn that the soft guards are just not durable enough compared to the strength of the patient’s bite and grinding. Soft night guards are often chewed through and destroyed in a short period of time. For severe bruxism, we would personally recommend a hard night guard over the soft.
Patients may be concerned with the stiff and solid material that comes with hard night guards. To provide a solution for those who need a hard guard, but want the comfort of a soft guard, The Dental Lab has created a combination guard. It is the best of both worlds as the guard has the strength and durability of the hard night guard on the outer layer and the soft, pliable material on the inside layer. Lastly, the combination night guard has the comfort and stability of both types of guards.
The Dental Lab Night Guard Package
At The Dental Lab, we aim to provide quality and value. With this, we’ve created a package deal for patients who are getting crowns or veneers. A night guard is offered as an additional add-on at a percentage of its original cost.
The advantage of using a night guard along with a crown or veneer is that the new restoration is protected until the mouth is properly and fully adjusted to the new changes. They will protect from the grinding of the new installments and prevent chips or wear and tear.
How Can The Dental Lab help?
We work with dentists, oral surgeons, and their patients to provide high-quality care, services, and products including night guards. The Dental Lab is one of the leading dental labs in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area. As a premier provider of dental lab services, our team understands the complexities of manufacturing custom dental products for our professional clients. If you are looking for assistance in how to approach the sale of a night guard to your patient or choosing the correct type, we are always here to help. In addition to being your trusted dental lab and an advisor, we want to help your patients achieve their comfort level, sleep, and new restoration.
Bruxism: A Literature Review
Mouth Guards in Dentistry-A Review
Therapies for bruxism: a systematic review and network meta-analysis (protocol)
NTI Night Guard
Bruxism, mouth guard, night guard, dentist, oral, cornerstone, cornerstone dental labs, teeth, tooth, teeth grinding, jaw clenching, jaw, guards, tmj, lab, the dental lab
Angel Chang is a Drexel University graduate with a background in Marketing. She has experience with digital analytics, SEO, social media management, content creation, copywriting, and web development.