What to Look for in a Dental Guard
When it comes to dental guard buying, there’s no shortage of options out there. From disposal guards at your local dollar store to custom dental guards fitted by your dentist, it can be tough to decide which is the best choice for you. And if you’re suffering from nighttime teeth grinding (also called bruxism), you’re probably looking for a solution sooner rather than later.
Here are the three most important criteria to look for when shopping for a dental guard.
If your dental guard doesn’t fit properly or just doesn’t feel comfortable to wear, it’s not likely going to be very effective. Some over-the-counter guards require you to boil them and then bite into the plastic to get a fit for your teeth: if it’s not done properly, you won’t have a good fit. Custom dental guards from your dentist or a specialty provider are designed to have a perfect fit for your mouth. There are also adjustable options that allow you to customize the fit.
Bruxism can lead to major long-term issues like cracked teeth, damaged enamel, jaw and neck pain, and lost sleep. As far as dental guard buying goes, comfort is the most important factor to ensure that you wear it regularly and stop the effects of bruxism as soon as possible.
Disposable dental guards may provide a good temporary fix, such as when traveling, but they’re not a long-term solution. Especially if you’re a heavy grinder, the pressure from clenching can quickly impact thinner guards when you’re just beginning to retrain your jaw.
Custom dental guards, meanwhile, are designed to be very durable. But because bruxism tends to affect more children than adults, you may find that custom guards don’t last as long since kids’ teeth continue to shift as they grow. A custom guard that fit a child six months ago may no longer be effective today.
Some people who grind their teeth only need to use a dental guard for a few weeks to retrain their jaw, but others wear dental guards much longer to prevent bruxism and protect their teeth. Keep that in mind before spending a lot of money right away on custom dental guards or when buying a cheap disposable option.
When dental guard buying, you can find disposable guards as cheap as $1 or you can spend upwards of $500 on custom dental guards from a dentist or specialist. Some insurance plans include coverage for dental guards, or you may be able to use funds from a health savings account or similar plan for their purchase.
Like most things, there are always tradeoffs on both ends of the cost spectrum. While your own budget may ultimately be the deciding factor when shopping for a dental guard, remember that the most important thing is to find something that works for you and will help you stop grinding your teeth at night.
SleepRight has a selection of no-boil dental guards that are adjustable to fit, designed to last, and affordable to purchase. Learn more at www.sleepright.com.