Nightguards are protective devices worn in the mouth. They serve a variety of purposes and are used to manage different conditions such as bruxism, snoring, and obstructive sleep apnea. While you are asleep, they help protect the teeth from self-inflicted injuries caused by bruxism. They also help reduce snoring and alleviate obstructive sleep apnea. Peninsula Family Dental Center provides nightguard treatment options and professional guidance on their use for both children and adults.
Bruxism is a sleep-related movement disorder in which there is grinding of the teeth and clenching of the muscles in the jaw. In severe cases, the teeth can be fractured due to worn-down enamel. Early diagnosis and subsequent use of nightguards prevent extreme symptoms like these. The nightguard stays between upper and lower teeth and prevents them from grinding against each other. They protect the teeth during sleep. Most of the force of the grinding movement is absorbed by the nightguard.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Snoring
Sleep apnea is a condition characterized by intermittent cessation of breathing during sleep. In obstructive sleep apnea, cessation of breathing is caused by intermittent relaxation of the tongue and throat muscles. This leads to blockage of the airway. Snoring, on the other hand, is an unpleasant side effect produced as a result of the vibration of the soft tissues of the mouth.
Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD), a device used to correct obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, looks similar to a mouthguard. It works to treat mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea. The Mandibular Advancement Device is custom-made by our dental professional to perfectly suit your dentition. It helps keep the airway open by pushing the tongue and lower jaw forward and downward. A Tongue Stabilizing Device (TSD) is another dental device used to relieve obstructive sleep apnea and snoring. It looks similar to the Mandibular Advancement Devices. However, the Tongue Stabilizing Device has a small section where the tongue can be placed. They are used in patients whose jaws cannot be sufficiently repositioned forward. They help pull the tongue forward so it does not fall back and obstruct breathing.
Keeping Your Nightguard Clean
The cleanliness of all oral devices and appliances is highly encouraged since it has a direct implication on your oral health. Nightguards should be kept clean so they do not serve as a source of infection. Brush and floss your teeth well before putting your nightguard in your mouth. After wearing it, at least rinse your nightguard with clean water. The American Dental Association recommends that nightguards be cleaned using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste after each use. This can be done regularly. However, a deep cleaning of your nightguard should be performed occasionally as well. They should be deep cleaned using specially formulated nightguard cleaners. Afterward, they should be washed using soft soap and water. After this, rinse thoroughly with cool water.
Store your nightguard in its case and keep the case in a cool, dry place. Ensure the case is clean. Reduce the number of times you remove your nightguard with your hands to the barest minimum. This reduces contamination of the nightguard with dirt and microorganisms. Replace your nightguard as often as our dental professional recommends. With excessive use of a nightguard, it can form cracks and burrows, which will breed microorganisms and can cause infection.
Nightguard usage allows for relaxation of the oral muscles and jaw. Nightguards also help reduce facial pain and headaches. If they are used to relieve obstructive sleep apnea and snoring, they improve sleep quality. If you think you may be in need of a nightguard, please contact us, Peninsula Family Dental Center, at (907) 283-9125.