Night Guards

Routinely wearing a night guard while you sleep can greatly reduce headaches and pain in your jaw. If you experience these symptoms, tell your Dental Health Associates of Madison dentist.

Your Dental Health Associates of Madison dentist may recommend a night guard for either bruxism (clinching and grinding your teeth) or the related pain with your TemporoMandibular Joint (TMJ). Pain with the temporomandibular joint and the surrounding muscles is usually referred to as TemoproMandibular Dysfuntion (TMD). Bruxism and TMD can combine to cause multiple problems, such as:

  • cracked teeth
  • loose teeth
  • headaches
  • ear pain
  • clicking, popping, and grinding sound in the joint
  • pain in the joint
  • difficulty with opening your mouth

There are a few different night guards that can be used to treat the above problems. Your Dental Health Associates of Madison dentist can help you decide which type of night guard will best treat your symptoms once they have seen you for an evaluation.

Hard Acrylic Night Guard

The hard acrylic night guard is the most commonly used appliance to treat TMD. It is a custom-fit appliance that fits over your upper or lower teeth at night. It has a smooth flat surface that allows your opposing teeth to move smoothly. This night guard prevents your teeth from locking together, which in turn reduces the stress and pressure on your teeth and joints. Over time this appliance can reduce the tendency to clench and grind your teeth as well.

Soft Night Guard

A soft night guard is more commonly used to treat most mild bruxism cases. The soft night guard is less durable than the hard acrylic night guard, and if you are more of a moderate to heavy grinder you may wear through this appliance very quickly. The advantage of the soft night guard is that it is usually a more inexpensive way to help protect your teeth.

NTI Appliance

The NTI Appliance is a device that attaches to your upper or lower front teeth. It is designed to prevent your back teeth from touching while you sleep. It is a less commonly used appliance, but helpful nonetheless if a hard or soft night guard isn't working for you. Ask your Dental Health Associates of Madison dentist if the NTI Appliance is right for you.

Night Guard FAQs

How many appointments do I need to have a Night Guard made?

You only need two simple appointments to have a night guard made. During the first visit, your dentist will make an impression of your upper and lower teeth. This impression is sent to an offsite lab that will make the night guard. At the second visit, your dentist will fit the night guard and explain how to use it.

How is a Night Guard made?

First, to make your night guard, an impression is needed. This is typically a short, simple appointment. From the impression, our staff creates a stone mold that shows your teeth and gums. Once this mold is set and hardened, acrylic is heated and then placed over the mold of your teeth and suctioned down over the mold using a special machine. Once the acrylic has cooled, it can be trimmed down to fit your mouth.

How do I care for my Night Guard?

In the morning, you should brush your night guard thoroughly and rinse with clean water. Keep your night guard out of the reach of pets; they have been known to chew them up, so always make sure you store them in the carrying case Dental Health Associates of Madison provides. Also keep the case clean. Make sure your night guard isn't exposed to any high temperatures as it can warp the material, so don't leave it in your car in the summer if you travel! If you ever notice a spot on your night guard that is causing soreness or irritating your tongue or gums, be sure to call us so we can smooth down the area to give you better comfort while wearing your night guard.

What happens if I don't use my Night Guard?

Teeth are meant for grinding food, yes, but not for excessive force that comes from bruxism. Bruxism or clenching may cause damage to your jaw joints as well. So, not treating bruxism and TMD can lead to a future full of pain. Grinding damage to your teeth cannot be reversed. Restoration of tooth structure may involve crowns or even implants. Using a night guard can help protect your teeth and jaw joints.

Will my insurance cover my Night Guard?

Insurance coverage varies greatly for each individual policy. To find out what percentage may be covered by your insurance plan, refer to the information provided to you when you enrolled, or call the 1-800 number on the back of your card to ask a representative. If you need help obtaining this information, a Dental Health Associates front desk staff member would be happy to help you. If you are a DHA patient, our financial coordinators will help you obtain an estimate of coverage if requested.

To schedule an appointment, please call the offices or fill out our online appointment request form.