Night Guards

Mouth Guards/Night Guards

A night guard is also known as an occlusal orthotic, bite guard, mouth guard, occlusal guard, bite splint, mouth-piece etc. It is a protective device that covers the teeth to prevent and/or reduce injury. As people are keeping their teeth for much longer, it is more important than ever to protect them.

TMJ/TMJ Disorders

Night GuardTMD, or Temporomandibular Disorders refers to a group of disorders that affect the jaw joint (TMJ, temporomandibular joint), which joins the jaw to the skull as well as the muscles that control chewing. Often, TMD results in discomfort such as pain, earaches, jaw stiffness and problems opening and closing, locked jaw, recurring headaches and popping. . If you are suffering from joint or muscle pain (TMJ/TMD pain) you may seek us out for help and relief of the pain. There are many ways to treat TMD just as there are many causes and symptoms. At Smiles of Virginia Family Dental Center we offer you many conservative options for TMD treatment tailored to your unique situation.

Teeth grinding and clenching can heavily wear down your teeth.

Not everyone feels discomfort from these habits. It is a very common problem that many don’t realize they have until we point it out for you.

Indications for use of a night guard:

  • Bruxism: this is the dental term for grinding your teeth. A night guard can help alleviate your symptoms by offering a smooth barrier between the teeth allowing the lower jaw and top jaw to slide against each other instead of applying pressure and grinding down.
  • TMD: a night guard can help alleviate pressure on the joint and reduce strain.
  • Arthritis
  • Trauma to the jaw or jaw joint (TMJ)
  • Jaw clenching
  • Misaligned bite
  • Stress

Types of night guards:

  • Stock or ready-made: Over the counter night guard that is preformed and ill fitting due to the one size fits all approach. This makes wearing it more uncomfortable. This type of night-guard is bulky and it can also impair your breathing and speaking.
  • Boil and Bite: Can be bought over the counter, heated and then pressed against your teeth to attempt to custom form it to fit your teeth. A small step up from the stock night guard.
  • Custom made: Naturally, something made to the exact specifications of your teeth and bite is going to offer you the best protection and comfort. We use a variety of different designs and types of custom-made night guards. Our comprehensive TMD exam will help us determine what the best choice for you will be. We first take a quick set of impressions, and about 2 weeks later you return to our office for delivery. At delivery we spend time adjusting the custom night guard to your comfort, we provide home care instructions and answer any of your questions. We always recommend you bringing your night guard into your hygiene prophylaxis (cleaning) appointment so we can routinely check the fit.

Read our blog post about night guards to learn more.