Sometimes, your dentist may recommend wearing a nightguard to protect your teeth at night. Whether your dentist has suggested a nightguard or you want to ask if it would make sense for you to wear one, it can be helpful to understand the pros and cons of these mouth guards.
Before getting into the benefits and disadvantages of wearing a nightguard, make sure that you understand what they are. These are mouth guards that you specifically wear at night while you sleep.
Nightguards are suitable for treating a range of conditions, including bruxism, TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder), and sleep apnea. The common theme is that they help your mouth stay in the ideal position while you sleep, protecting your teeth and the rest of your mouth.
Pro: They Protect Your Teeth
The biggest advantage of wearing a nightguard is its ability to protect your teeth. That is why Dr. Dhiraj Sharma suggests them to patients. Simply put, wearing a mouth guard at night will protect your teeth from accidents or trauma from external impact.
For example, if you grind your teeth in your sleep, the mouth guard will add a layer separating them from each other. This way, your teeth won’t be able to grind directly on each other, which can lead to damage.
Pro: They Prevent Enamel Erosion
Take a closer look at this particular benefit of nightguards for people with bruxism or teeth grinding. One of the issues with grinding your teeth is that it thins the enamel of your teeth. That can lead to other issues, such as dentin hypersensitivity. Grinding your teeth at night is especially problematic, as you won’t know you are doing it, so you can’t stop it. By contrast, if you grind your teeth when you are awake, you have a chance of noticing and correcting the behavior.
By preventing the teeth grinding, a nightguard will prevent the enamel erosion caused by that grinding.
Pro: They Are Breathable
Nightguards are specifically designed to be very easy to breathe in. After all, they are frequently used as part of the treatment for sleep apnea. The design of a mouth guard typically keeps your airway open, thanks to how they separate the upper and lower jaws from each other. The result is better breathing at night.
If you don’t struggle to breathe at night, then the breathability of nightguards simply means that you won’t have any issues from wearing it either.
Pro: They Are Comfortable
When Dr. Sharma suggests that you get a nightguard, he will take the time to get you one that can fit your teeth properly. This ensures a snug and proper fit. The result is not only an increase in effectiveness but also a high level of comfort.
Pro: They Can Reduce Discomfort
Not only are nightguards comfortable, but they can reduce your discomfort, depending on the condition they are treating. For example, TMD is sometimes due to bruxism and can be unsettling and uncomfortable. It can involve jaw pain, migraines, and other aches. But nightguards can help reduce these problems, also reducing the pain.
Con: They Can Be Uncomfortable (If Not Custom-made)
As mentioned, nightguards are comfortable as long as they are customized based on your mouth. Unfortunately, the opposite can also be true. If you choose a pre-made mouth protector, it may be uncomfortable and not fit your properly.
The good news is that this is easily remedied by getting a customized one.
Con: Waiting for the Custom Guard
You may sometimes have to wait several weeks or more for your custom nightguard to be ready. Nonetheless, some can have incredibly quick turnaround times, so this is not always an issue.
Con: You Have to Get Used to Them
While nightguards are eventually comfortable, you may need time to adjust using them. However, this would be true of any other medical device that you start using.
That means you will have to be patient and may have to wait a few nights or more to get used to the nightguard. In the meantime, you may find it harder to get comfortable and fall asleep.
However, this is well worth it for most people.
The Opposite May Also Be True
In addition to getting used to the mouthguard when you start to use it, you may eventually have to get used to not wearing it. This will depend on how your condition progresses and whether your dentist suggests continuing to wear the guard.
Con: They Require Replacement
As with most other medical devices, mouth guards do not last forever. This means that you will have to replace your nightguard and get a new one at some point. This is more of an issue in children, as growing teeth will have their mouth shift and grow over time.
Nevertheless, even if you are an adult, the mouthguard can wear down over time and become less effective. Or the wear may cause it to fit less comfortably than before.
As with the other cons, however, there is a simple solution. If the nightguard becomes uncomfortable or less effective, you can replace it with a new one. In fact, your dentist will likely ask you to bring your nightguard to your regular cleanings. This lets him confirm that it fits you properly and that you don’t need a replacement.
Con: You Have to Follow Instructions
This is another con of mouth guards that is more like a caveat. To get the most from a nightguard, you have to follow your dentist’s instructions. This includes instructions for using it as well as cleaning it. If you don’t clean your mouthguard regularly, it can accumulate bacteria.
Of course, this should not be an issue for most people to overcome, especially since instructions for nightguards are straightforward. If you have any questions about using or cleaning it, ask your dentist.
Wearing a nightguard helps treat certain conditions, such as bruxism. Nightguards protect your teeth from grinding or other damage while you sleep. They are comfortable and breathable, thanks to being custom-fit to your mouth. The only downsides are very manageable, such as the need to clean the nightguard and get used to it.
If you have questions about protecting your teeth with a nightguard or looking for a consultation, contact our dentist in Palo Heights today!