(night guards and sport guards)
Bite guards are primarily worn for two reasons—to prevent teeth from grinding and to protect teeth during physical activities. There are four types of bite guards to choose from:
• Custom-made night guard: This type of bite guard starts at Crossroads Family Dental with a 3D scan of your teeth. The night guard is then custom fabricated to fit your teeth precisely and is calibrated to fit evenly within your bite. The guard will be designed and manufactured by our professional local dental lab using a specialized 3D printed acyrlic that is durable, easy to clean, and resists grinding forces. Custom-made bite guards offer superior comfort and protection. Dr. Berns highly recommends custom-made bite guards over store-bought alternatives. Most patients find a custom-fabricated night guard significantly more comfortable than a stock over-the-counter guard.
• Boil and bite over-the-counter night guards: This one-size-fits-all plastic is altered by boiling the guard in water, then shaping the plastic around your teeth. Unfortunately, these guards are bulky and tend to be uncomfortable. If the instructions are not followed exactly, you may end up with a poorly-fitted guard. In addition, since there is no calibration to how your bottom teeth bite against the guard, there is an increased risk of your natural teeth shifting overnight during regular OTC nightguard use.
• Boil and bite sports guard: Made in a similar fashion to the guards above, this is usually a softer rubber material that serves a different purpose than the over-the-counter night guard mentioned above. Due to their difference in purpose, a store-bought sports guard can often serve most athletes fairly well.
• Custom-made sports guard: This piece of protective sports equipment is custom fit to your (or your child’s) mouth. Using our 3D scanner and our local dental lab, we are able to achieve a superior fit of a high-quality sports guard.
Regardless of the intended use, we recommend custom-made bite guards. Protecting your teeth is an important investment that can save you from future tooth damage and the need for more extensive restorative treatment.
The Dangers of Bruxism or Teeth Grinding
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a condition that can lead to worn or fractured teeth, jaw and facial pain, and other serious problems. While some grinding may happen during the day, clenching or grinding is the most difficult to control during sleep. This means you can suffer from bruxism and not even know it!
Most of the time, a patient discovers they grind their teeth when a spouse or partner is disturbed by grinding noises during sleep. Dr. Nicholas Berns can also diagnose signs and symptoms of bruxism during a dental exam.
Untreated bruxism can lead to damaged teeth that require crowns or other forms of restorations. In severe cases, we may need to perform a tooth extraction. You may also develop painful disorders with your temporomandibular joints (TMJ)—the joints that control the movement of your jaw.
Night Guards for Teeth Grinding
A night guard is the most common way to treat a patient with bruxism. The guard will cushion your teeth from the forces of clenching, and prevent your teeth from grinding together. Having a well-fit guard is also an important part of maintaining a healthy bite and sound sleep.
A sports guard is a device worn over your teeth to protect them from trauma and blows to the face during physical activity. We strongly recommend sports guards for patients who actively participate in football, basketball, soccer, baseball, and hockey or other contact sports. Patients who participate in gymnastics and extreme sports may also benefit from the use of a sports guard.
In general, sports guards will cover the upper teeth. Patients with braces or special conditions may receive a sports guard for their lower teeth as well. Your sports guard will protect you from broken or chipped teeth, tissue damage, and other trauma to your mouth.
Get Your Bite Guard Today!
Talk with Dr. Nicholas Berns if you are interested in receiving a night guard or a sports guard. Call 219-865-4095 to schedule your appointment today!