Why Would A Dentist Recommend A Night Guard? Most Common Dental Issues | Mewing.coach
Oral Health

Why Would A Dentist Recommend A Night Guard? Most Common Dental Issues


    Why would a dentist recommend a night guard

    Night guards are a seemingly inconspicuous piece of dental hardware, but actually, it’s a multifaceted solution to various oral health problems. A night guard serves critical functions for several dental issues. While the ones crafted by a dentist can be costly, an array of affordable options are accessible online.

    But before you rush to add one to your shopping cart, it’s vital to understand what a night guard is and why dentists commonly recommend it. This article shall delve into the multiple reasons behind such a recommendation.


    What Is a Nightguard?

    A night guard is a dental appliance specifically designed to protect your teeth from grinding or other damage while you sleep. Unlike generic mouth guards used in sports, a night guard caters to those suffering from teeth grinding or clenching, also known as bruxism. Both types of guards can protect the teeth from significant damage, but they serve different functions depending on the time of use.

    Various materials go into the making of these guards. Typically, a dentist uses laminates or acrylics in the more expensive variants. These materials are durable and tailored to your teeth. Online options are also available that utilize medical-grade thermoplastic, which is equally efficient.

    Although skepticism exists regarding the efficacy of online purchases, advancements in dental technology have leveled the playing field. In fact, an online night guard can offer a snug fit and the same high-grade materials as those crafted by dental clinics. It’s fair to say that the material quality of an online night guard can indeed be on par with those you’d receive from a dental clinic.

    Most Common Nightguards Recommended by Dentists

    When it comes to night guards, a dentist can recommend four primary types: a stock night guard, a boil and bite guard, a custom-made mouth guard from dental clinics, and a direct-to-customer night guard.

    Stock Night Guards, often referred to as one-size-fits-all or over-the-counter, are ready-made. Generally made of rubber or polyvinyl and are the least expensive option. Best for temporary wear or for trying out a guard for the first time. A dentist may recommend a store-bought mouth guard for immediate, short-term relief but often cautions that they may not offer a perfect fit or high durability.

    Boil and Bite Guards require you to boil them before molding them to your teeth. Usually made from thermoplastic, these offer a better fit than stock options. They are widely recommended for those who have moderate teeth-grinding issues but want to keep costs low.

    Custom Mouth Guards Made at a Dental Clinic are tailored specifically for your dental structure. Made of high-quality laminates or acrylics, they offer excellent durability and fit. Dentists often recommend custom-fitted mouth guards for severe cases of bruxism or jaw issues. However, the price-to-value ratio is the highest among the options, often costing several hundred dollars.

    Direct-to-Customer Night Guards are a blend of customization and affordability. Crafted from medical-grade thermoplastic, they offer a customized fit without the steep price tag of a dental clinic version. You take an at-home impression and mail it to the dental lab. The dental guard is then made and sent back to you. I believe that these are excellent for those looking to save money without compromising on efficiency.

    Should You Use A Lower Or Upper Nightguards?

    The choice between upper and lower night guards can be more complicated than one might initially think. Both types serve the fundamental purpose of protecting your teeth and jaw from grinding and clenching during sleep, but they differ in specific ways that will be significant based on individual needs.

    Upper Night Guards

    An upper night guard is usually fitted for the upper teeth. Initially designed for the upper arch, they often feel less intrusive and are easier to speak with. These are generally recommended for:

    • First-time patient seeking comfort and easier adaptation.
    • Individuals with specific dental work like porcelain veneers on the upper arch.
    • People who experience tongue obstruction or discomfort with a lower guard.
    • Those who are at risk of triggering a gag reflex with a lower night guard.
    • Patients who have a natural upper bite alignment that requires less force distribution.

    Lower Night Guards

    Dentists are recommending a lower night guard for more patients lately due to their own set of advantages. A dental guard for bottom teeth is particularly useful for:

    • Individuals with lower arch dental work that needs protecting.
    • People who have a bite that aligns better when a lower guard is used.
    • Those who find upper guards uncomfortable due to specific dental conditions or sensitivities.
    • Patients who have been explicitly advised by their dentist to wear a lower guard based on dental evaluations.
    • Individuals who experience less gag reflex issues with a lower guard.

    Your bite, comfort level, and specific dental conditions will play a significant role in this decision. For instance, those with particular dental work like veneers or crowns may find one option better suited for their needs. Similarly, comfort will also be a significant determinant. If you get a night guard fitting improperly, it is less likely you will wear it regularly.

    10 Reasons Why Dentists Recommend Using A Night Guard

    Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

    Teeth grinding, medically known as bruxism, manifests as jaw pain and even damaged teeth. A custom-fitted night guard is often recommended in the case of bruxism or jaw clenching to alleviate these symptoms.

    Ignoring a dentist’s recommendation of using a night guard to mitigate the damaging effects of teeth grinding during sleep will lead to serious issues such as enamel erosion, tooth sensitivity, and even tooth loss.

    Tongue And Cheek Biting

    Involuntary tongue and cheek biting during sleep is another condition for which mouthguards come highly recommended. By serving as a barrier, night guards may help prevent accidental biting. Failure to heed this advice could result in oral ulcers and infections. I don’t think it’s worth the risk as finding the best nighttime mouth guard isn’t that difficult and hardly expensive.

    TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders

    TMJ disorders affect the joint connecting your jaw to your skull. The symptoms may include jaw pain, clicking sounds, or difficulty in chewing. A night guard that aligns your jaw correctly will relieve these symptoms. However, neglecting to wear one can result in more severe pain and joint damage.

    Dental Restoration Protection

    Protection of dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, and implants is another common reason for a night guard. The dental appliance can specifically safeguard any recent dental work, and ignoring this protective measure may necessitate costly replacements.

    Preventing Headaches

    Tension headaches often stem from jaw tension or teeth grinding. Clenching and grinding strain the temporomandibular joint and surrounding muscles, leading to tension headaches upon waking. By minimizing this strain, a night guard helps relax the jaw muscles, which is why it is an effective prevention measure.

    If you are a heavy teeth grinder and have morning headaches, your dentist or other healthcare professional is likely to recommend a night guard. Disregarding this could lead to chronic headaches and a decline in the quality of life.

    Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea, a disorder where breathing is interrupted during sleep, will also be managed with certain types of night guards. These guards reposition the jaw to facilitate better airflow. Failure to treat this condition will lead to serious health issues, including heart disease and high blood pressure.

    Enamel Erosion

    Enamel is the toughest substance in the human body, yet it’s vulnerable to erosion from acids and can be worn down from excessive teeth grinding or clenching. Enamel erosion is the gradual wearing away of a tooth’s outer layer. Once eroded, enamel cannot regenerate, which makes preventive care crucial.

    A night guard will protect against further erosion if your dentist has already noticed signs of it. Without one, the condition may worsen, leading to severe tooth sensitivity and cavities.

    Tooth Sensitivity

    Tooth sensitivity, commonly triggered by extremes of temperature, can be managed with a night guard acting as an insulating layer. Tooth sensitivity occurs when the inner layer of a tooth, known as dentin, becomes exposed. This can happen due to enamel erosion, gum recession, and heavy teeth grinding.

    Dentists recommend mouth guards to prevent further teeth damage and increased sensitivity. Ignoring your dentist’s advice in this matter will result in a reduced quality of life due to dietary limitations.

    Protecting against external impact

    For individuals who participate in active contact sports, such as boxing, a night guard is recommended by health professionals. It not only protects teeth but will also prevent many jaw and tongue injuries. In a less often case, people suffering from sleepwalking (somnambulism) can be recommended a night guard by their doctor to prevent broken teeth or oral injuries.


    A night guard serves as a versatile solution for a myriad of dental concerns ranging from teeth grinding to TMJ disorders. With advancements in dental technology, every patient now has various dentistry options to choose from, be it custom-fitted models from dental clinics or equally efficient online guards for sleeping.

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