Night Guards
Dr.Michael Richer
REVIEWED BY DR. MICHAEL RICHER

Doctor of Dental Surgery

Graduated from the State University of Buffalo with a Bachelors in Biology

Graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry

Ranked among the Top 10 Dental Schools in North America

Do Night Guards Prevent Teeth from Moving?

Night guards are often recommended to alleviate jaw pain and prevent teeth grinding while you sleep. But do they truly stop your teeth from shifting? This blog post explores the effectiveness of night guards in preventing teeth from moving and the benefits they offer.

Find out how night guards from R + R Dental can prevent teeth movement and protect your smile. Learn about the benefits and proper usage for optimal dental care.

What Are Night Guards?

Night guards, also called occlusal guards or dental splints, are custom-made or store-bought mouthpieces designed to fit comfortably over your upper or lower teeth. Worn primarily during sleep, they act as a protective barrier between your chompers.

The design of a night guard is simple yet effective. Typically made of soft or hard plastic, it fits comfortably over your teeth, cushioning them from the impact of grinding. When you wear a night guard, it absorbs much of the pressure generated by your jaw movements, reducing the strain on your teeth and minimizing the risk of damage.

The guard's material acts as a shock absorber, distributing the force of grinding evenly across your teeth. This helps to prevent wear and tear, cracks, and fractures that can result from bruxism. Additionally, night guards provide stability to your jaw, preventing it from sliding or shifting during sleep.

Custom-fitted night guards, obtained through your dentist, offer the best protection and comfort. These guards are specifically tailored to fit your teeth and mouth anatomy, ensuring a snug yet comfortable fit. Over-the-counter options are also available, although they may not provide the same level of customization and comfort as custom-fitted guards.

Can Night Guards Prevent Teeth from Moving?

The simple answer is yes. Night guards may not directly prevent teeth from shifting, but they play a crucial role in maintaining dental alignment.

Addressing Bruxism

Night guards are primarily designed to address bruxism, or teeth grinding. This common issue can lead to significant dental problems, including teeth shifting. By creating a protective barrier between your upper and lower teeth, night guards cushion them and prevent grinding during sleep.

Night Guards for Teeth Stability

Night guards offer stability to your jaw, minimizing excessive movement during sleep. This stability helps maintain the alignment of your teeth by keeping them in their proper positions. By reducing jaw movement, night guards decrease the likelihood of teeth shifting or becoming misaligned.

Protecting Against Damage

In addition to preventing grinding, night guards protect your teeth from wear, cracks, and fractures. The cushioning effect of the guard absorbs the force of grinding, reducing the risk of damage and supporting long-term dental stability.

Benefits of Using Night Guards

Night guards offer a range of advantages for your oral health and overall well-being. Here's how they can benefit you:

Protection Against Teeth Grinding and Clenching

Do you grind or clench your teeth at night? Night guards act as a protective barrier, absorbing the force of these actions and preventing your teeth from grinding directly against each other. This minimizes wear and tear, reducing the risk of cracks, chips, and flattened teeth.

Prevention of Teeth Shifting

Constant clenching and grinding can put excessive pressure on your jaw, potentially causing teeth to shift out of place. Night guards help by creating a space between your upper and lower teeth, promoting a relaxed jaw position. This reduces pressure and safeguards your teeth from unwanted movement.

Ease of Use and Maintenance

Night guards are convenient and require minimal upkeep. Simply wear them at night and follow your dentist's instructions for cleaning. Most night guards are comfortable to wear and won't disrupt your sleep.

Improvement in Sleep Quality

Clenching and grinding can disrupt your sleep and leave you feeling tired. Night guards, by promoting a relaxed jaw and reducing noise from grinding, can help you achieve a deeper, more restful sleep.

Teeth Movement Prevention with Night Guards: Types of Night Guards

Night guards come in three variants, each with its own pros and cons to consider for protecting your teeth at night.

  1. Custom-Made Night Guards

These are the best night guards, offering the best fit, comfort, and protection. A skilled dentist creates them specifically for you by taking impressions of your teeth. This personalized approach ensures a perfect fit that snugly guards your teeth and jaw. Custom night guards are typically made from a durable acrylic material and can last for several years.

  1. Boil-and-Bite Night Guards

As the name implies, these night guards involve some DIY customization. You boil the guard in water to soften it, then bite down to mold it to your teeth. While more affordable than custom guards, they may not be as comfortable or secure. The fit might not be as precise, and boil-and-bite guards tend to be made of softer materials that may wear out faster, requiring more frequent replacements.

  1. Over-the-Counter Night Guards

These night guards win on convenience and affordability. They're readily available in drugstores and come in a one-size-fits-all design. However, this one-size approach often translates to poor fit and discomfort. Because they don't conform well to your teeth, they may not effectively protect you from grinding or prevent unwanted tooth movement.

Night Guards

How to Choose the Right Night Guard

Selecting the appropriate night guard is essential for effective teeth protection and prevention of shifting.

Consider Your Needs

Evaluate your specific dental needs and the severity of your bruxism. If you require a high level of customization and protection, opt for a custom-fit night guard obtained through an experienced dentist.

Evaluate Your Budget

Determine your budget and explore different options available within your price range. While custom-fit guards offer the highest level of protection, boil-and-bite or over-the-counter guards provide more affordable alternatives.

Assess Comfort and Fit

Ensure that the night guard fits comfortably in your mouth and does not cause any discomfort or irritation. Custom-fit guards typically offer the best fit and comfort, followed by boil-and-bite guards.

Consider Long-Term Use

Think about the longevity of the night guard and its ease of maintenance. Custom-fit guards may require occasional adjustments by your dentist, while boil-and-bite or over-the-counter guards are generally easier to maintain.

Tips for Proper Night Guard Care and Maintenance

Your night guard is your teeth's tiny bodyguard, so proper care is essential. Here are some quick tips:

Rinse and Brush

In the morning, rinse your night guard with clean water to remove saliva and plaque. You can also gently brush it with a soft toothbrush and mild toothpaste.

Store it Safely

Don't leave your night guard exposed on a nightstand. Keep it in a sturdy, vented case to protect it from dust and damage.

Deep Clean Regularly

Depending on your dentist's instructions, you might need to deep clean your night guard with a special solution or denture cleaner about every week.

Regular Checkups

Schedule regular dental visits to have your dentist inspect your night guard for wear and tear and ensure it still fits properly.

When to Consult a Dentist About Night Guards

Night guards are great, but how do you know if you need one? Here are some signs to watch for:

  • Morning Jaw Pain or Headaches: Do you wake up with a sore jaw or frequent headaches? This could be a sign of teeth grinding at night.
  • Worn or Chipped Teeth: Are your teeth flattened, worn, or chipped? Grinding can damage your pearly whites.
  • Clicking or Popping Jaw: Does your jaw click or pop when you open your mouth? This could indicate a stressed jaw joint.
  • Sleep Disruption: Does your partner complain about grinding noises, or do you wake up feeling unrested? Night guards can promote better sleep.

If you experience any of these signs, don't hesitate to schedule a consultation at R+R Dental. We can assess your needs and determine if a night guard is right for you. Call us today or book an appointment online to discuss keeping your smile healthy and protected!

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Michael Richer
REVIEWED BY DR. MICHAEL RICHER

Graduated from the State University of Buffalo with a Bachelors in Biology

Graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry

Ranked among the Top 10 Dental Schools in North America

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Hicksville, NY 11801

(516) 874-7834

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