Caring for your teeth doesn’t solely involve cleaning them frequently.
While regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings are all essential for your overall dental hygiene, sometimes they’re not enough to ensure a pearly white smile that brightens your day.
For many people, night guards and mouth guards are a critical part of oral health.
These devices offer prevention against wear and tear, especially for people who may be prone to teeth grinding, and added protection to those who participate in “dentally” high-risk sports.
But while they’re somewhat similar, it’s important to understand that night guards and mouth guards don’t perform the same function and shouldn’t be used interchangeably. Let’s take a closer look at both and see which one is better suited to your needs.
Mouth Guards Vs. Night Guards
Both mouth guards and night guards can help protect your teeth from fracture and injury, leading to other dental issues down the line, allowing bacteria to settle on the gums, or promote tooth decay.
However, it’s critical to understand the difference between these two dental appliances so that you can use them correctly.
Mouth guards are most commonly used for sports.
They’re made of thick acrylic (or similar material), usually covering your entire jaw, protecting both your teeth and your gums.
While they’re fairly thick, mouth guards are still soft and pliable, designed to absorb force in case you get hit while playing sports. You’ll usually have to a wear mouth guard if you play:
- Martial arts
Or other sports.
On the other hand, night guards are designed to be worn during sleep.
They protect against injury caused by teeth grinding, also known as sleep bruxism.
You’ll want to wear them every time you go to sleep if you want to avoid pain, discomfort, tooth decay and more.
Since they need to absorb the heavy teeth grinding that occurs with sleep bruxism, they’re made of much firmer, much stricter material than sports mouth guards.
However, night guards are also much thinner to provide more comfort during the night.
Types of Mouth Guards and Night Guards
If you have a need for sport mouth guards or night guards, you’ll have several options to choose from:
- Stock guards
- Boil-and-bite guards
- Custom guards
Whether for sleep or for sports, stock night guards and mouth guards are the most affordable and the most widely available option – you’ll quickly find them at your local drug store. However, they’re usually available in three sizes only – small, medium, and large. They rarely provide a good fit, so they’ll usually be less comfortable.
A slightly better option would be the boil-and-bite guard. Also available in most drug stores, it’s easy to come by and just somewhat more expensive than the stock type. Its most significant benefit is that you can slightly customize the fit. You’ll have to leave it in boiling water for a few minutes until it’s soft and pliable, then bite down on it so that it takes the shape of your teeth.
Of course, your best options are custom-made mouth guards and night guards you’ll get from your family dentist.
Custom mouth guards and night guards are designed to fit your teeth and gums perfectly, offering the greatest comfort and the most protection.
You can check with your dentist whether you need a mouth guard or night guard during your scheduled professional cleanings.
If we find that you’re a candidate for a mouth guard or a night guard, we’ll take custom measurements, make a mould and send it off for production. Then we’ll invite you back for a fitting.
Many insurance providers cover night guards and some cover mouth guards as well. We’d be glad to send your paperwork directly to the insurance company for faster reimbursement to you.
Where to Get Your Night Guard or Mouth Guard
Using mouth guards for sports and night guards for sleep can help keep your teeth in good condition.
Contact Yazdani Family Dentistry to schedule your appointment and have custom-made mouth guards or night guards that help keep that pearly white smile in great shape, free of chips, cracks or other issues.