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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 dentist immediately! 

Your Dental Health Associates of Madison dentist may recommend a night guard for either bruxism (clenching 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 TemporoMandibular 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
night guard
icon representing mouth guard

Types of Night Guards

There are a few different night guards that can be used to treat the above problems. Your Dental Health Associates dentist will determine 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. This will help lower muscle activity and release tension in the facial muscles. Ask your Dental Health Associates of Madison dentist if the NTI Appliance is right for you.

Night Guard FAQs

You only need two simple appointments to have a custom 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.

First, to make your night guard, an impression is needed. This is typically a short, simple appointment. From the impression, our staff, or lab, 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.

In the morning, you should brush your night guard thoroughly and rinse with clean water. You may also soak it in a mouthwash once a week, preferably one which is alcohol and dye-free. 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. Heat will distort the shape of these acrylic night guards. Keep them away from boiling water, dishwashers, and other hot conditions.

Using a night guard can help protect your teeth and jaw joints. Without this protection, teeth that are subject to repetitive excessive forces during clenching or grinding can sustain irreversible damage. Tooth damage can lead to fractures, crowns, root canals, and even extractions. By using a night guard you can prevent many symptoms from occurring and future dental treatment.

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.

Patient Information

We encourage new patients to fill out a new patient form online prior to your first appointment. Be sure to select the appropriate location for your new patient forms, as once you complete them, they are sent electronically to the office you’ve chosen. 


Medical and dental insurance can be confusing. Our staff has experience with your questions and can help you get the most from your insurance.

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