Night Guards – Types and Uses

Night guards are devices applied on the mouth to protect teeth from clenching or grinding. Night guards are also called occlusal guards. Night guards are the type of mouth guards applied during sleeping. These are mainly used to control snoring and bruxism. Night guards are available in different sizes and materials.

Ideal characteristics of night guards:

  • Should ensure proper fitting in mouth
  • Should be durable
  • Should be unflavored or mint flavored to keep your mouth fresh
  • Should not be too thick as it creates discomfort

Types of night guards
Night guards are available in different types. These include:

Custom and over the counter night guards
Custom night guards are devices which are designed by taking impressions of teeth. It is very expensive than other types of night guards. It offers proper fit and comfort to the candidate. Over the counter night guards are devices which are readily available in drug stores. These are inexpensive and do not provide proper fit as like custom night guards.

Dual and single laminated night guards
Dual laminated night guards are better than single laminated night guards. These provide better fit than single wall night guards. Single wall night guards are used for short period of time. It is best suitable for sports persons. Dual laminated night guard is used to wear entire night to prevent grinding and chipping of teeth.

Complete and partial coverage night guards
Complete coverage night guards cover the entire portion of the upper or lower teeth. It protects the upper teeth from grinding against lower teeth. It does not modify the bite and most commonly used to wear during night time.

Partial coverage night guards cover only a small portion of the teeth in mouth. It may modify the bite. Once the device is placed in mouth some of the teeth comes in contact with it and controls the grinding of teeth.

Soft and hard acrylic night guards
Soft night guards are made with soft material and can be used if a patient has slight effect of grinding of teeth. Hard night guards are made up of acrylic material which prevent the teeth from altering the mouth guard. Hard acrylic night guards are used in patients who have extreme bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorder.

Uses of wearing night guards
Night guards are used to treat:

  • Snoring
  • Bruxism – Grinding and clenching of teeth
  • Temporomandibular joint disorders