Many people ask, “What is the difference between a night guard and a mouth guard?”
A night guard is a removal clear appliance that you wear only on your top or bottom teeth as you sleep to protect your teeth from a condition called bruxism. Bruxism generally refers to clenching and/or grinding of the teeth. Night guards only cover the teeth and not the gums. The design normally goes from one side of your mouth to the other so covers most if not all your teeth in that arch. It is not as common, but some people also wear their night guard during the daytime. Generally, a night guard is made for the top arch to best suit your bite. So, when you close together it is most comfortable.
There are normally two main types of night guards.
- A hard-soft night guard, which is hard on the outside and soft on the inside.
- A hard-hard night guard, which is hard on the outside and hard on the outside.
- They can range from 2mm to 5mm thickness
Depending on the severity of your bruxism habit (clenching and/or grinding) will depend on which type of night guard is most suitable for you. The most commonly made night guard is a hard-soft one as it is more comfortable and generally fits nicer around your teeth whilst still being durable.
The way a night guard works is to spread the load evenly over all of the teeth so the force of your clenching and/or grinding is not localised and thus help alleviate stress from the muscles of mastication (chewing/eating). Otherwise bruxism can cause problems such as:
- severe tooth wear leading to tooth sensitivity
- headaches and migraines
- neck aches
- jaw pain and trouble eating
- irreversible trauma to the nerve of the tooth leading to the need for root canal treatment
A mouth guard also known as a sports guard is used to protect your teeth from an impact injury whilst playing any type of contact sport. Unlike a night guard a mouth guard covers all the teeth as well as the gums. It also comes in many different colours so you can support your team as you wear it.
It is strongly recommended by dental professionals if you play any type of contact sport to wear a mouth guard. Especially if it is a high impact sport like football, boxing, or hockey just a few examples. No matter what age you are and even if you are just practicing it is advised that you wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth from potential trauma.
The process involves two simple appointments.
- The first appointment is to take an impression of your teeth and send this away to the dental laboratory.
- The second appointment is to insert your mouth guard making sure it fits properly and is comfortable.
For more information please talk to one of our dental operators. You can also read the fact sheet below about mouth guards.