A dental night guard is an appliance that fits in the mouth and is worn during the night. It is worn to prevent clenching and/or grinding of the teeth (bruxing). Night guards can be bought in a store or made by a dentist. For long term wear niteguards should be made by the dentist as it is very important to fit and adjust them properly. Store bought guards should be used only occasionally for stress related clenching or grinding. Niteguards are most often made from moldable plastic and/or hard acrylic. Most night guards are shaped like a U and fit easily into the mouth. Since guards wear down with use, they usually need to be replaced every 2 to 3 years.
How a niteguard works
Clenching and grinding causes excess wear and tear on both the teeth and their support structures. This can contribute to premature tooth wear, gum disease, tooth mobility and sensitivity, premature breakdown of fillings, tooth fractures, tooth sensitivity, jaw/joint pain, and headaches. In the long term clenching and/or grinding may cause severe pain, jaw locks and occlusal collapse.
A night guard is designed to protect the teeth from the pressure of clenching and grinding by providing a protective cushion between the upper and lower teeth. A night guard can be a simple, and affordable solution for protecting your teeth and jaws from the damaging effects of bruxism. When properly made, it can help reduce clenching, grinding, and TMJ problems by helping to relax the muscles in the jaw.
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INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE AND CARE
- The thermoflex bruxism guard must be heated with warm tap water for approximately 1 minute prior to insertion. Hard acrylic guards do not need to be warmed.
- While the guard is warming, you should be sure to brush and floss your teeth and oral tissue to ensure that your mouth and teeth are clean before inserting the appliance.
- Always ensure to push the guard into the correct position using your fingers and thumbs, never bite it into place.
- When removing the appliance, always reach to the back of your mouth and pull down on it. Pull down/up on it, depending if the guard was made to fit the top or bottom teeth.
- The guard should always be brushed clean using a toothbrush, water and a bit of toothpaste or a drop or two of liquid hand soap. Brush and rinse the appliance after each wear period, and be sure to store it in the case that was provided for you.
- Ocassionally, to prevent tartar buildup, the guard should be soaked during the day in a denture cleaner solution available at any drug store.
- Always be sure to keep this appliance away from pets. Dogs have a tendency to chew these appliances, and can destroy them in the process.