There are three types of nightguards to choose from: custom-fit nightguards, soft nightguards, and full-size splint nightguards. A nightguard is a mouthpiece that prevents you from damaging your teeth. Nightguards can prevent complications from dental disorders such as bruxism, which is a disorder that causes you to clench and grind your teeth while you sleep. According to Sleep Disorders Guide (see Reference 1), there are no complications with wearing occlusal splints, also called nightguards, night guards or bite splints. However, sanitary issues may arise from not cleaning a nightguard properly. Nightguards should be cleaned daily with a toothbrush (not one used for your teeth), scrubbed thoroughly with soap and cold water and rinsed well.
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Custom-fitted nightguards are designed by your dentist specifically for you. Your dentist will take an impression of your upper teeth by mixing together impression material called alginate; your dentist will then place this thick, gooey mixture into an impression tray. The tray will be placed gently into your mouth and over your teeth with a firm but gentle pressure. The impression must remain for about 2 to 3 minutes before it begins to turn into a harder material. The impression tray, which has made an impression of your teeth, is removed from your mouth. The dentist will then pour a liquid stone mixture into it and let it harden. That is then used to make your nightguard. Custom-fitted nightguards do not tear easily, are comfortable and durable. Custom-fitted nightguards can be more expensive than other types of nightguards because of the acrylic or plastic-based material used to create them.
Soft nightguards are fabricated from a soft, rubbery silicone material and can also be custom-fitted by your dentist. These are generally found in department stores or pharmacies. A soft nightguard purchased from a store can be fitted by following the instructions that come with it. This is typically accomplished by placing the device in hot water and then into your mouth. Proper fitting of a nightguard depends on your teeth and bite alignment. A fit that is not snug may be uncomfortable. Soft nightguards are available in different flavours such as mint or cinnamon.
A full-size bite splint nightguard traditionally helps to cushion the upper teeth from the bottom teeth. This splint creates a safe barrier between both sets of teeth to prevent grinding. The full-size bite splint covers all of the upper teeth and if you have braces your dentist may make a lower full-size bite splint to prevent damage.
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