Night guards, also known as mouth guards or bite splints, are protective coverings for the teeth. They cushion the teeth so that even when you clench your teeth, the tension is lighter and has no effect on the muscles in the jaw. Normally, mouth guards cover the upper teeth only (except in special cases). Your dentist may make a mouth guard for your lower teeth if you wear braces or have other fixed dental aids. These are the different scenarios when you many need night guards:
You suffer from bruxism
Bruxism is a condition where a person grinds or clenches their teeth and jaws. Grinding refers to the back and forth movements of the jaw, and clenching refers to biting down forcefully for prolonged periods. Clenching can eventually lead to migraines. Teeth grinding will, over time, damage the enamel or cause tooth breakage. Both are subconscious activities, making it difficult for many to discern. You may be suffering from bruxism if you experience any of the following signs:
· Your jaw often feels tired and tight especially when you wake up.
· Your teeth feel more sensitive than usual.
· You experience soreness around your jaw area.
· You have constant earaches.
If you are experiencing any of these signs, a visit to the dentist can help determine if you suffer from bruxism.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that occurs when the throat muscles relax and soften. This blocks the airways and causes oxygen deprivation to the person. Severity ranges, but in general, sleep apnea can cause snoring, choking and noise disturbance. Left unchecked, sleep apnea has been known to cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and chronic headaches. Your dentist may prescribe a mouth guard if you suffer from mild or moderate obstructive sleep apnea. A mouth guard pushes the jaw forward to reposition the tongue; this expands the airways and reduces air resistance allowing the person to breathe properly as they sleep. Although there are other medical options for treating sleep apnea, mouth guards are compact, non-invasive and economically friendly.
For sporting activities
Mouth guards are often used to protect teeth and prevent them from causing injury to the lips and tongue while playing roughly. Certain sports like boxing, skateboarding, field hockey, football, and soccer carry high risks of falling and causing injuries to your face. Mouth guards are a great safety option.
Stock mouth guards, boil and bite mouth guards, and custom-made mouth guards are the three types you’ll come across. Stock mouth guards are easy to find and less expensive compared to the other options. They are, however, limited in the sizes they come in and may not provide a tight fit. Boil and bite mouth guards are relatively inexpensive. They come in one size that you can customize to fit your teeth. You boil the mouth guard to soften it then place it over the front teeth and bite down. This way, they take the shape and size of your teeth.
Custom-made mouth guards provide the best fit for the mouth. This type is more pricey than the rest but the extra cost is worthwhile. An experienced Invisalign dentist in Winnipeg will take a mould of your teeth and specifically make a structure that fits perfectly for your teeth and mouth.