If a dentist recommends a night guard, it is likely to provide protection for your jaw and teeth from jaw clenching, teeth grinding, or possible TMJ/TMD. If you are experiencing jaw pain, headaches, earaches, or facial pain on a regular basis, then you may unknowingly have these afflictions occurring. Stress and anxiety can add to the ‘need’ to grind and release; however, it causes more harm than good. If left untreated these symptoms will not only increase in intensity but will undoubtedly lead to more expensive measures to remediate damage to the structure of your teeth and jaw alignment.
What’s in a Night Guard?
What your mouth guard is made of depends on what your dental provider offers and the type of mouthguard that you require. A variety of FDA-approved materials are available for a soft, hard, or hybrid type of nightguard including flexible vinyl, dual laminate, acrylic, or thermoplastics. These materials make a custom fit possible and provide long-lasting durability, but most importantly protection, prevention, and the slowing of degradation caused by incessant grinding that leads to damage and increased pain.
Costly but Effective?
Those in need of a dental night guard have options – in-store standard fit, online retailer, or your preferred dentist custom fit. The in-store standard fit is the least expensive and least effective because it is not a custom fit, but a generalized fit. It may fit almost perfectly but if it is not molded to your teeth and mouth precisely, it could have effects on your alignment which could flow into another costly correction. Online retailers have custom fit mouth guards that run between $100 and $200 with the convenience of not leaving your home, but the inconvenience of a longer wait time, especially if you are having issues with the fit. The more costly but dependable and overall trusted method to obtain a mouth guard is with your regular dentist. This can run anywhere from $400 to $800, but the longevity of the product is worth the cost.
When it comes to a proper nightguard, it is important to tackle the cause of grinding – stress, tension, anxiety, or a less manageable cause. If you can remediate or reduce the cause through therapy or self-care routines it may greatly reduce the need for a mouthguard. However, as a safeguard, this preventative measure is definitely worth the consideration for your teeth and jaw to avoid future or recurring damage when you have a history or presence of grinding or clenching your teeth.