Night guards are recommended for patients who clench or grind their teeth. Clenching or grinding can occur during the daytime and/or nighttime. Not all patients are aware a habit exists. A patient may come in with facial muscle soreness, jaw fatigue, or pain in the temporalmandibular joint, also known as TMJ. Dentists may see wear facets or attrition on the teeth causing a flattened or worn down look that indicate a potential habit or past habit. Gum recession or notches in the teeth at the gumline known as abfractions can also be signs a clenching or grinding habit exists.
If a night guard has been recommended for you and you choose to not get one or don’t wear it on a consistent basis, further complications could happen. The symptoms of facial muscle soreness, jaw fatigue, pain in the TMJ can continue, along with continued wear on the teeth, headaches and breaking down of tooth structure causing cracks or mobile teeth. If cracks in teeth occur, then the added expense of a crown may be needed.
There are two types of night guards Davidson Family Dentistry recommends, either a soft or hard night guard. Both are excellent at absorbing forces placed on teeth during the clenching/grinding process. Your dentist will take a look at your bite and recommend the one that is best for you. The soft night guard is made in our office and is custom fit to each patient. It is soft and compressible so it can have a tendency to wear out and need replaced more quickly. A rigid night guard is made at a lab outside the office and is also custom fit to each patient. Because it is rigid and non-compressible, it is stronger and generally doesn’t need replaced as often. The rigid night guards can be blue, green, pink or clear in color. Due to the materials used and the involvement of an outside lab, the cost of hard night guards is substantially more expensive.
For either the soft or hard night guard, it takes two appointments to complete the procedure. The first appointment is to take an impression of the teeth, which is where impression material is placed in a tray and then held in place on the teeth until the material sets. If a hard night guard is being made, we will also do a bite registration which is just simply biting down on some impression material in order for us to get a reading on how your teeth fit together. The second appointment is 10-14 days later, possibly sooner, to place the night guard and assure it fits properly. At this appointment, you will also receive a traveling case and homecare instructions. Once you receive your night guard, you are free to bring it in at any time for a complimentary night guard cleaning.
Some insurances cover a percentage of the night guard cost. We would be happy to look into your insurance coverage for you. Night guards are discounted under the Davidson membership plan at 15%.
Posted November 30th, 2016