Part 1 – 10 Basic FAQs About Mouth Guards
FAQ #1 : Is mouth guard going to cure my bruxism?
The causes of teeth grinding are not always easy to determine, and it might take some time before your dentist finds out if your jaws are misaligned, your teeth are not touching or are touching at the wrong place, or you simply grind your teeth when under heavy stress. While you are looking for the cause, get a mouth guard to protect your teeth from further damage.
Mouth guard will not cure your bruxism, regardless of what some guard manufacturers will let you believe in their effort to get your money. Guards are there to protect your teeth until you can find, and eliminate, the reason for your teeth grinding. Learn more about the ways to stop your teeth grinding at How to stop grinding/clenching teeth.
FAQ #2 : What do mouth guards do?
There are many different types of mouth guards. Some of them have pads which separate upper and lower teeth, preventing the damage. There are guards that absorb the pressure from clenching jaws, which can damage not only your teeth but your jaws as well and which gives you a bad headache. When upper and lower teeth cannot touch, the muscles that control jaws relax and release the pressure.
Many people automatically reject the idea of having to go to bed every night with a strange piece of plastic in their mouth. Their feeling is reinforced if they start using a poorly fitted off the counter mouth guard that is bulky and uncomfortable and keeps them awake or keeps falling out of their mouth. It takes some time not only to get used to wearing a mouth guard, but to find the one that fits well. While the choice of off the counter mouth guards is huge, the only truly good mouth guard is the custom guard made for you by a reliable, respected lab (Check out Custom Night Guards – Dental Lab Reviews).
FAQ #3 : What are mouth guards made of?
Mouth guards can be made of acrylic (type of plastic), acetate, vinyl, some kind of rubber, hybrid of more than one material or metal, such as chromium cobalt. Better guards are often made of a laminate of two materials – hard material on the outside and soft on the inside, to ensure both durability and comfort. One of the proprietary laminates is Ethel Vinyl Acetate. The quality of the material will make your guard more durable and resistant to chewing pressure. If you guard is designed to be boiled before being fitted to your mouth, make sure that it can be heated repeatedly without falling apart, otherwise it will not last long.
FAQ #4 : How to clean and care for a mouth guard ?
Your dental guard needs to be thoroughly cleaned and dried after use to prevent bacterial growth. As soon as you take it out of your mouth, rinse it with cool water and brush it with your tooth brush and tooth paste. Once a week soak it for a few hours in a mix of water and a mouth guard cleaner such as Ortho Clean or a denture cleaner such as Efferdent. Cleaners will not only remove any plaque and bacteria but will make your guard smell nice. Avoid makeshift cleaners such as vinegar, hydrogen peroxide or similar, as their odor will penetrate plastic and will linger for a long time. Rinse and dry your guard and keep it in its own ventilated box and make sure it is stored away from any heat source. Heat might make it lose its shape.
FAQ #5 : Can I wear a night guard with my braces on (orthodontic braces)?
Wearing braces means that you are going through an orthodontic treatment which is meant to reposition your teeth. During this process, your teeth need to move and shift and a night guard might interfere with this process. But, if your teeth grinding is really bad and you need to avoid damaging your teeth and waking up with a headache, try lose, soft mouth guard which will not constrict your teeth, but will still prevent the upper and lower teeth from touching. Check our review of mouth guards to find those that are most suitable. Keep in mind that lose mouth guards will not fit very well and might fall out of your mouth during the night. If your teeth misalignment caused your teeth grinding, you might completely stop grinding your teeth once the orthodontic treatment is complete and your teeth are in their normal position. Other solution is to try SleepGuard Biofeedback Headband which can actually stop you from grinding/clenching your teeth.
FAQ #6 : Can I talk while I am wearing the Night Guard?
Absolutely! The better your guard fits, the less it will interfere with talking. Good mouth guard, especially custom made guard will fit so well that people will hardly notice that you are wearing it. This is particularly important for people who wear their mouth guard during the day because of occasional grinding when under stress.
FAQ #7 : Can I eat/drink while I am wearing the Night Guard?
You could, but why would you? The purpose of the night guard is to wear it at night, while you are asleep, to prevent you from grinding your teeth. If you wear your night guard during the day, as some people do, you might find it difficult to chew your food with the mouth guard in your mouth because it is designed to prevent your lower and upper teeth from touching and grinding together. But if for some reason you end up eating or drinking while you have your night guard in your mouth, make sure you clean it well to remove any food particles which will interfere with its function and will collect bacteria.
FAQ #8 : How long will it be before I need to replace my dental night guard?
Some mouth guards are made so strong that they can last for years. Most people report that their mouth guards show signs of wear and tear after about six months or so. There are disposable mouth guards on the market that can be thrown away and replaced with the new one every day. The lifespan of a mouth guard depends on the material it is made of and on the strength of your jaws. Replace it when you notice that it is getting excessively worn out, cracked, damaged or misshapen. If you are a heavy grinder, make sure you choose stronger mouth guard. Don’t forget that you are not supposed to wear a mouth guard for ever, but just until you find the solution for your teeth grinding. Its goal is to protect your teeth from the damage in the meantime. To learn more about how to treat your bruxism, read how to stop grinding teeth.
FAQ #9 : Will my night guard fall out of my mouth during the night?
It should not. Well fitted mouth guard fits your mouth snugly and should be comfortable and should nt fall out of your mouth. If it does, it is probably too small for your teeth or is not fitted well. Give yourself a few days to get used to a new mouth guard, and if it keeps falling out, you might need a new one. The most comfortable mouth guards are custom made to feet your teeth. If you find that many off the shelf mouth guards are not comfortable and keep falling out at night, you might need a custom made guard.
FAQ #10 : Can I wear the night guard during the day / all day long?
Yes. Many people catch themselves grinding or clenching their teeth during the day when under particular stress. They find it helpful to wear the mouth guard to prevent the damage to their teeth. The best time to wear it is while driving your car, working alone in the office, or preparing a meal. Look for a light, thin mouth guard that will not interfere with your talking and will not be too obvious.
Continue to Part 2 – Dental Mouth Guards Vs. Sports Mouth Guards – What Are The Differences?