Night Guards in Ontario, CA
According to a 2021 survey, over 70% of dentists observed signs of teeth grinding and clenching in their patients. If you grind your teeth, you may have experienced face and jaw pain, headaches, trouble sleeping, and teeth damage, among other symptoms. Night guards are a type of dental splint that can protect your teeth and dental restorations from grinding and clenching at night. At Esparza Dentistry, we offer custom-made night guards to fit your mouth perfectly.
What Are Night Guards?
You are likely familiar with mouth guards that are often required to play action and contact sports. Mouth guards protect your teeth, gums, and lips from impact, reducing the likelihood of chipped or knocked-out teeth, lacerations, or other orofacial injuries. Both mouth guards and night guards are protective dental splints, but night guards, as their name suggests, are typically used at bedtime.
Night guards are plastic appliances that combat chronic nighttime teeth grinding (bruxism). They provide a protective barrier between your top and bottom teeth that absorbs and disperses the pressure of your bite. Like other mouth guards, night guards are typically worn on the top teeth.
Night Guards Combat Bruxism
Clenching or grinding your teeth, also known as bruxism, affects over 30 million children and adults in the United States. While some people clench or grind their teeth during the day, others do so at night, often without even realizing it until a bed partner or dentist notices the signs. At your dental exam, we will look for evidence of nighttime bruxism.
Who Needs Night Guards?
While teeth grinding and clenching are common, some people are more likely than others to experience bruxism and need night guards. Risk factors for bruxism include:
- Stress and anxiety
- Anger, frustration, or tension
- Age (children are more likely to experience bruxism)
- Consumption of caffeinated or alcoholic beverages
- Tobacco use
- Family history of bruxism
- Certain mental health or medical disorders (ADHD, night terrors, sleep apnea, epilepsy, dementia, gastroesophageal reflux disorder, Parkinson’s disease)
- Psychiatric medications like SSRIs, amphetamines, or antipsychotics
- Competitive or aggressive personality types
Consequences of Bruxism
When left untreated, bruxism can cause permanent damage to your teeth, impair your jaw, compromise your sleep quality, and cause headaches.
Common effects of bruxism are:
- Loose teeth
- Worn-down enamel that can cause cracked teeth (which may require crowns or dental implants)
- Damage to dental restorations like dental bridges
- Temporomandibular join (TMJ) issues
- Face, jaw, and neck pain
- Tension headaches and migraines
- Poor sleep
- Grinding sounds that may disturb your bed partner
At night, bruxism movements have greater force than normal chewing, making your teeth and jaw especially vulnerable to injury. Because you may not notice that you clench or grind your teeth while you sleep, it is especially important to know the signs of bruxism and consult your dentist at Esparza Dentistry if you are experiencing any symptoms. We can make a custom-fitting night guard to alleviate your symptoms and forestall the lasting effects of bruxism.
Over-the-Counter vs. Custom-fitted Night Guards
While over-the-counter night guards are available at many pharmacies, they are not as effective at treating bruxism as custom-fitted ones. “Boil and bite” options allow for some customization because they can be somewhat molded to your teeth when the material is heated. Ready-made stock guards, on the other hand, are not customizable. This “ready to go” one-size-fits-all option can be ill-fitting and uncomfortable. Since no one’s teeth are the same, these over-the-counter options are less effective than custom-made night guards.
Custom-fitted night guards are the best option since they are professionally fitted to your teeth. The superior fit means they will feel more comfortable and secure in your mouth. As a result, you’ll be able to adjust to your custom night guard more quickly than over-the-counter options. Higher-quality materials are also used in custom-made night guards, so you can expect them to be more durable and long-lasting.
Some patients are tempted to use store-bought night guards because of their lower cost, but they are not nearly as durable as custom-made appliances. You’ll end up having to replace your store-bought guard much more frequently, requiring you to pay out-of-pocket more often for an inferior product.
High-quality custom night guards are an investment that lasts for years, and because of their snug fit, you’ll be more comfortable right from the first use. Some insurance plans even help cover the cost of custom-fitted night guards, but if you need to finance yours, we offer flexible financing options to make your night guard affordable. We are happy to discuss our payment options at your free consultation.
Getting Fitted for a Night Guard
Getting a custom-made night guard is an easy two-step process. If a night guard is right for you, we will take impressions and send them to a dental lab where your night guard will be fabricated. Lab-created night guards can take about two weeks to make. When yours is ready, you’ll come back in, and we’ll make sure that it fits properly on your teeth.
Caring for Night Guards
Maintaining the fit and function of your custom appliance is easy if you follow these daily guidelines:
- Rinse your night guard after each wear with cool or lukewarm water.
- Brush your night guard gently with a soft-bristle brush to remove plaque buildup. Don’t use toothpaste on your brush, as it is too abrasive for your appliance and can cause premature damage.
- Let your night guard air dry completely before storing it to prevent bacterial growth.
- Keep your appliance in a protective case. Don’t forget to clean your case routinely with a liquid dish detergent.
Keep in mind that extreme temperatures, like heat from sunlight or hot water, can warp the plastic and cause premature damage to your night guard.
Deep cleaning your night guard once per week can keep your appliance in great shape. We recommend the following deep cleaning method:
- Fill a glass or plastic bowl with distilled white vinegar. Soak your night guard for 30 minutes.
- Empty the vinegar and rinse the night guard and bowl with lukewarm water.
- Fill the bowl with hydrogen peroxide and soak your night guard for 30 more minutes. Don’t soak your night guard for longer than recommended, as doing so can damage the material.
- Thoroughly rinse the appliance and set it aside to dry completely before storing it.
We also suggest bringing your custom-fitted night guard with you to your routine appointments at Esparza Dentistry so we can check for any signs of wear and assess the fit.
Custom-Made Night Guards at Esparza Dentistry
If left untreated, teeth clenching and grinding can cause restless nights, stubborn headaches, and permanent damage to your teeth and jaw. Night guards are an effective treatment for chronic bruxism, and custom-fitted night guards are the best option available due to their superior fit and quality materials. If you are experiencing symptoms of bruxism, a custom-made night guard from Esparza Dentistry can help.
Contact Esparza Dentistry today to learn more about how custom-fitted night guards can treat your teeth clenching and grinding.