Store bought night guards, often called "boil and bite" guards are sold at almost every pharmacy and chain store nation wide. If you have problems with grinding your teeth at night (also called "bruxism"), they may seem like a great way to save your smile. Initially, these products will work as advertised, protecting your teeth from premature wear. However, inexpensive guards can create serious problems with longterm use.
Your jaw muscles can produce a tremendous amount of force, almost 500 Newtons worth. When clenching on a store bought night guard (as you do subconsciously when you grind your teeth at night), these forces are unequally distributed: that is, you will not be biting everywhere at the same time with the same force. This uneven pressure can worsen existing headache/migraine problems or create new ones. You may be saving your teeth, but you will be creating a whole host of other problems!
A professional night guard made by a dentist is fundamentally different from a "boil and bite" night guard. Our guards are custom molded to your bottom teeth using a special clear hard acrylic. The top of the night guard is smooth and contoured so that all your top teeth touch it at the same time with the same force. It is also polished completely smooth, making it feel easy and natural to wear while sleeping. This combination of features allows you to avoid grinding your teeth at night, without introducing new headache pains. If you would like to know more about night guards, please give our office a call!