When you think about preventive dental care, you probably imagine your routine dental cleaning or fluoride treatments. While cleanings, dental x-rays, and fluoride treatments are preventive services, they aren’t the only ones. Dr. Shebani Pahwa, Dr. Maham Siddiqui, and Dr. Samantha Ben-Ezra also considers night guards and mouth guards to be preventive services. Nightguards and mouth guards are used to prevent different issues, but they are both available here at SPA Dental Group.
Below, we discuss the difference between these two mouth guards and who might benefit from each one.
Types of mouth guards
Night guards and mouth guards both do the same thing: protect your mouth (including your teeth, lips, and tongue) from injury. How and when you wear them is different. Nightguards, as the same suggests, are worn throughout the night while you sleep, while mouth guards may be worn during the day during physical activity.
Custom-made or OTC?
While you can find both ready-to-wear and boil-and-bite mouth guards in most sporting goods stores, there are perks to choosing a professionally made one. The providers at SPA Dental Group provide custom-made mouth guards and night guards so that you receive the highest level of protection possible. Professionally created mouth guards and night guards are made of high-quality material, are customized to you, and fit perfectly. The better the fit, the more protection you receive. Another bonus? Professionally made mouth guards last much longer than OTC versions.
Do you need a mouth guard or nightguard?
You might benefit from a mouth guard if:
- You play contact sports, including hockey, soccer, rugby, and football
- You participate in martial arts, including karate
- You participate in recreational sports, including surfing
- You participate in recreational activities, such as biking, skateboarding, or skiing
Wearing a mouth guard during a team sport or extreme sport protects your teeth from being knocked out, chipped, cracked, or fractured. They also protect your cheek and lips against accidental bites. Research indicates that athletes who wear mouth guard are as much as 93% less likely to suffer a dentofacial injury.
You might benefit from a nightguard if:
- You struggle with teeth grinding, or bruxism
- You have temporomandibular joint pain
- You are stressed (and clench your jaw while your sleep)
Sleeping with a night guard can protect your teeth from the pressure of grinding your teeth. Left untreated, jaw clenching and bruxism can lead to broken or chipped teeth, jaw pain, and even headaches.
How to keep your mouth guard clean
Once you have your mouth guard, it’s important to practice good hygiene to keep it clean. Follow these tips:
- Wash your mouth guard after every use
- Use toothpaste and a non-abrasive brush to clean
- Allow it to dry thoroughly between uses
- Store your mouth guard in a double-vented case
- Wash the case too (every few days)
- Don’t leave your mouth guard in your car on a hot day
- Never share mouth guards
If you’d like to explore the benefits of a mouth guard for yourself or for your child, call the location of your choice today or request your appointment online.