Nothing sounds sweeter than a cup of milk and a good night’s sleep to look forward to after a long, stressful day to help us regain our strength and energy for the next one. However, for quite a few of us, busy schedules, ridden with sleepless nights, countless cups of coffee, unhealthy eating habits, and tobacco intake, heavily influence our sleeping patterns, sometimes for the worst.
Putting all of these factors together, an estimated 10 percent of people (and 15 percent of children) develop the bad habit of unintentionally clenching and grinding their teeth during the night, an ordinary condition called bruxism. While all of us resort to clenching our teeth in anger or other circumstances, bruxism can have serious long-term repercussions: loss of tooth enamel, damage to the teeth, or even tooth loss, as molars are the regular victims of this condition. Furthermore, in more severe cases, bruxism can lead to the development of temporomandibular joint syndrome (pain in the muscles that move the jaw) or gum disease.
Treating Bruxism with a Dental Night Guard
Fortunately, the field of dentistry has come up with a streamlined and straightforward way of treating bruxism without the actual need for medicine intake: the dental night guard! With this simple device, you can ensure the protection that your teeth deserve at nighttime while trying to relieve the causes of your teeth grinding in the first place.
Our expert Loudoun Orthodontics dental team advises you to schedule an orthodontic consultation at first sight of bruxism symptoms. Are you constantly waking up with dull headaches? Do you regularly experience jaw soreness, facial pain, and fatigue from sleep deprivation? You may be the right candidate for a dental night guard. Let’s explore the world of dental night guards together and learn more about the types and lifespans of these devices.
What Affects the Durability of a Dental Night Guard?
Right from the start, the lifespan of your dental night guard will mainly depend upon the severity of your teeth grinding and the way you clean and store the device. Let’s examine these factors successively and determine the proper behavior with dental night guards:
#1: The Severity of Teeth Grinding When Sleeping
Different teeth grinding levels call for different dental night guards, which is why you have to make sure that the dental night guard of your choice is resilient enough to withstand the severity of your teeth clenching. Otherwise, your dental night guard will become obsolete sooner than expected.
#2: Caring for Your Dental Night Guard
Not unlike removable dental retainers, persistent care for your dental night guard is key to prolonging its lifespan. Make sure that you store the device in a clean, safe environment and that you remove any impurities from its surface as often as possible. Without proper cleaning measures, your dental night guard will become a haven for bacteria and other harmful microorganisms, which, in turn, will shorten its lifespan.
#3: Eating or Drinking with Your Dental Night Guard On
Last but not least, on rare occurrences, people forget to remove the night guard before meals. Although a limited number of such instances will not be detrimental, constant consumption of food and drinks will lead to discoloration in your dental night guard and cause its material to become brittle. And let’s not forget about the bacteria and microorganisms that we’ve mentioned earlier!
Different Types of Dental Night Guards Last Longer
You’ve decided that choosing a dental night guard for your bruxism is the ideal choice, and that’s splendid news! To begin your dental night guard journey on the right foot, we will help you choose the device best suited to your condition, with a keen eye on the severity of your teeth grinding. Let’s explore the three main options available on the market:
Soft Night Guard
Commonly prescribed for patients with mild bruxism, these night guards are made out of a softer material that ensures enough protection levels with reduced longevity. The use of a softer material is appropriate because patients with mild bruxism experience fewer and less severe teeth clenching and grinding episodes, making soft night guards the obvious choice.
Dual-Laminate Night Guard
A more resilient version of the soft night guard, the dual-laminate night guards use two material layers, a soft inner layer and a hard outer layer (more appropriate to withstand increased pressure). Dual-laminate night guards work their magic for patients with moderate or bordering-severe bruxism. As a rule of thumb, these devices will perform adequately for upward to five years.
Hard Night Guard
Reaching the end of our shortlist, the hard night guard takes the cake for the hardiest dental night guards. It employs a resilient plastic material, with a thickness of 2mm or more, throughout the guard, providing unparalleled protection and durability for more than five years, in some cases. If your teeth grinding is severely threatening your dental health, make sure that you choose a hard night guard.
Schedule your COMPLIMENTARY Consultation!
Here at Loudoun Orthodontics, we put immense value on the general well-being of our patients, which is why we want them to regain their strength at nighttime without putting their dental health in jeopardy. Our expert dental team is ready to help you achieve that confident, natural smile with superior technology, solid knowledge of dental health, and a compassionate approach to patient care. Ready to be a part of the Loudoun Orthodontics family? Go ahead, schedule a complimentary consultation with us, or check out our blog!