If you often wake up with a headache or pain in your jaw, it’s likely that you are grinding or clenching your teeth at night, which is called sleep bruxism. This can damage your pearly whites over time, warns Sharon Huang, DDS, a general and cosmetic dentist at Belles NYC in Manhattan, but a night watchman can help.
A night watchman is a device that fits over your teeth, to protect them from the effects of bruxism, Dr Huang explains to LIVESTRONG.com. “It works as a shock absorber to help relieve pressure on the teeth, so there is less force on the muscles and joints to help prevent broken or cracked teeth, chipped teeth, gum recession, ruptured fillings. and muscle tension. “
For the best custom fit and the highest quality materials, you will need a night protector on prescription from your dentist. But if it’s not in the budget right now, or you’re in between visits to the dentist, an over-the-counter option may also work.
Since there are many over-the-counter night guards, it can be difficult to know which one is best for you. Here, we’ve narrowed it down to the top five night guards based on recommendations from Dr Huang as well as Manhattan-based dentist Steven Davidowitz, DDS; Rhonda Kalasho, DDS, dentist and founder of TruGLO Modern Dental in Los Angeles; Richard Marques, BDS, cosmetic dentist in London and Tina Saw, DDS, general and cosmetic dentist at Elevated Smiles in Carlsbad, CA, and founder and CEO of Oral Genome.
Best night protectors for teeth grinding and tightening
1. Best overall: EnCore Guards Custom Dental Night Guard
As for the night guards, it’s as good as it gets without going to the dentist, says Dr Huang. With four different night guard options to choose from including hard, soft, dual layer, and daytime hard, each with their own customizable fit, it’s easy to see why this night guard has such rave reviews (4.7 stars). out of 5 on Amazon).
Each purchase comes with two impression kits, each with two small trays for the upper and lower teeth. This way you have a backup kit in case your first attempt fails.
Once you’ve finished making your print, you send it to enCore using the prepaid label that arrived with your purchase, and within two weeks your personalized night watch will be mailed to you.
All materials are BPA and Latex Free and made without harmful chemicals.
HaveBuy it:enCoreGuards.com;Price :$ 129 for double layer laminate protection (hybrid)
2. Best value for money: Oral-B Nighttime Dental Guard
This over-the-counter night watchman uses a ‘boil and bite’ process. While this doesn’t provide a true personalized fit, it does provide a semi-personalized fit that can help reduce nighttime bruxism, notes Dr. Davidowitz.
These protections also cost less than $ 20, which is a good deal compared to the $ 300-400 you would likely pay if you purchased personalized protection from your dentist (although you would need to replace them more often).
Made from BPA and latex free materials, all you need to do to create a semi-custom fit is heat the trays in the microwave, place them in your mouth, and mold them over your teeth for three minutes. They have a nice minty flavor that most people don’t mind and can last up to six months.
HaveBuy it:Amazon.com;Price:$ 19
3. Best No Boil: Plackers Grind No More Dental Night Guard
If you are okay with not having a custom fit of any kind, this night protector can be of great help in reducing teeth grinding. They are one-size-fits-all, which means you don’t have to worry about boiling, cutting, or molding them to your teeth, which some people may consider a hassle process.
These can be worn on the upper or lower teeth, and – arguably the best part – they are disposable. They come in packs of 10 and 16 and can be used for up to three nights, so a single pack can last you a month to a month and a half. They’re also individually wrapped, so they’re great for travel – and you don’t have to worry about packing them on your return trip.
âThey are a quick over-the-counter solution for grinders and tighteners,â says Dr. Saw.
HaveBuy it:Amazon.com;Price:$ 4.49 for 16
4. Ideal for sensitive teeth: Dentemp Ora-GUARD Custom Fit Dental Guard
With a patented wedge design, this night protector helps lower your lower jaw and slide it forward in an effort to prevent grinding and clenching of teeth. This allows you to wake up with much less pain and protect your teeth while you sleep.
To create your custom fit, you boil the Ora-GUARD in water for 90 seconds, transfer it to cold water for no more than a second, then carefully place it on your lower teeth. After gently biting down, you slide the guard back and press it against your teeth to create a snug fit.
Unlike most home night guards, this one comes with a one-year warranty valid from the date of purchase.
HaveBuy it:Walmart.com;Price:$ 29
5.Best customizable: SnoreRx Stop Snoring Mouthguard
If you think your teeth grinding may be related to some sort of sleep disorder, you might be right and in that case a customizable night protector like the one from SnoreRx may be more suited to your needs.
This mouthguard is specially designed to reduce bruxism which can be linked to sleep disorders such as snoring and sleep apnea. Unlike many other night guards on the market, this one comes with an upper and lower tray to double the protection and keep your jaw placed in the right position to not only prevent crushing but also keep your airways open. to reduce snoring.
It uses boil-and-bite technology, but you also have the option of adjusting it up to six millimeters to create an even more personalized fit.
HaveBuy it:Walgreens.com;Price:$ 60
What to look for in a night watchman
Before purchasing the right overnight protector to relieve your teeth and mouth, here are some important factors to keep in mind:
Protections often fall into one of three categories: soft, hard and double laminate.
- HaveGentle night guardsare more flexible because they are often made from flexible plastic, says Dr. Saw. They are often less bulky, so some people find them more comfortable to wear. But they’re also less durable, which means they may only work for people with very mild bruxism.
- HaveHard night guardsare often made from hard acrylic, so they’re great for extreme grinders, says Dr. Saw. These are more durable, but some people find them uncomfortable and they are often more expensive.
- Onedouble laminate protectionis a hybrid device that has a soft inner part with a hard protection on the outside to prevent overall wear and tear on the teeth, says Dr. Saw. This type can work for people with moderate bruxism.
A good overnight protector should be tailored precisely to your unique mouth. Not only is this important in terms of comfort, but ill-fitting night protection can actually make the tightness worse or cause you to develop symptoms associated with temporomandibular joint dysfunction, also known as TMJ, and a misaligned jaw, notes Dr. Kalasho. She also recommends that a night protector be properly fitted so that it does not fall off while sleeping.
The best night protectors are made of clear acrylic plastic because they conform to the shape better and can provide a more personalized fit, notes Dr. Kalasho.
However, she also points out that your night shift should be BPA free. BPA stands for bisphenol A, a chemical that has been linked to a myriad of health problems, including cancer, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.
A night watchman shouldn’t be too tight or uncomfortable under any circumstances, notes Dr Huang. âDon’t try to force a night watchman on your teeth if he doesn’t fit on you,â she said. “A night protector should easily jump over the teeth, not have rough edges, and should be smooth on the tongue as you rub your tongue against it when you’re on the teeth.”
The night shifts you get from your dentist can last up to three years, says Dr. Huang. However, home versions tend to last between three and six months. (Night guards made from harder materials generally last longer than softer guards.)
The prices for night guards vary for a reason. If you buy one from your dentist, you are probably getting as much customization as possible, as well as high quality materials. But you can get a great night watch over the counter for a significantly lower price. Most non-prescription night guards cost between $ 17 and $ 60.
If you experience discomfort from teeth grinding or jaw pain, Dr. Davidowitz recommends making an appointment with your dentist so that your teeth, bite, and jaw can be evaluated.
Also, once you start using a night watchman, be sure to bring it with you during your dental checkups (every six months) to make sure the night watchman is working well.
If, on the other hand, you notice that the jaw snap or pain goes away over time when you use your night protector, Dr. Marques recommends asking your dentist if you can stop wearing your night protector. âSometimes you might have to keep going, but you’ll also be able to wear the protection every now and then and during times when you’re grinding more,â he says.