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Night Guard

You might have seen them in a comedy skit of a man or woman going to bed with a big device in their mouth. It's typically shown as unattractive, causes you to drool, and makes it so you are hard to understand if you talk with it in. (Think Tina Fey in the movie Date Night). While these appliances are often seen as a joke, they are actually a very important part in dental care for a lot of people. This appliance is known as an occlusal guard, or more commonly, a night guard.

A night guard is a dental appliance that is worn at night to protect your teeth and gums, usually for patients who clenches or grinds their teeth. Night guards are often made of an acrylic plastic and can come in a variety of colors, including clear. While most night guards are worn on the upper teeth, they can be fabricated to be worn on the lower teeth. (This is often beneficial to those who are concerned about having too much "stuff" in their mouth.)

You might be wondering why you would need to have a night guard in the first place. The most common reason is bruxism, or grinding and clenching your teeth, often at night. Most people who have bruxism aren't aware that they do it, but if not treated with a night guard, it can lead to some serious and expensive dental problems. Left untreated you could experience cold sensitivity, pain, cracked teeth, receding gum lines, and potentially the loss of teeth. To end up fixing these preventable problems you are looking at often times more than a little filling. Root canals, crowns or veneers, extractions and implants are often the course of treatment to these problems created by clinching and grinding.

Is there any other way to fix bruxism without the night guard? According to the Bruxism Association, hypnosis and Botox have been used to treat bruxism, but neither with the success rate of the night guard. Many people ask about getting a night guard from the drug store and if they are any good. The short answer is no. These night guards are either a general stock night guard, or are a boil and bite (you boil the night guard, then bite into the trays to make the impression). These drug store night guards are not a good fit which can cause them to be removed during the night (whether by it falling out or by easily being removed by a sleeping person.) The drug store night guards are also made from a softer, less durable material causing your teeth to not be as protected as you expected.

Never fear, getting a night guard is an easy procedure! If you are told you need a night guard by your dental professional, your first step is to get impressions done of your teeth and mouth. Those impressions are then sent to a dental lab, where they made the night guard based on the specifications your dentist prescribes. Once made, the night guard is sent back to your dental office where they will make sure the night guard fits you. The most important thing next is to make sure you wear it at night!

If you think you need a dental night guard, give Dr Fattahi and his staff at Hamilton Dental Group a call! They will go over costs, insurance eligibility, and get your impressions taken care of!


Since most of the damage typically caused by bruxism is during sleep, a night guard can usually be made to stop further damage. A night guard is custom made to fit over the upper or lower teeth. With the night guard in place, the patient can't grind their teeth together and cause further damage.

night guard