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What is a nightguard and why do you need one?

Nightguards are designed to prevent damage to teeth from rubbing together while you sleep.

Does everyone need one?

Could most people benefit from them?

What is the difference between one that you buy at the pharmacy and the one that you have made by the dentist?

1. The material a dentist uses is usually harder
2. The way the dentist makes it is usually more accurate
3. The dentist fabricated one will be more expensive

4. If you have TMJ problems, your jaw joint will be infinitely worse.

Walmart nightguards that you can make yourself by boiling material and molding it to your teeth are convenient. The DIY (do it yourself) form of dentistry seems to make sense for most people. It is generally less than $20 and does not require a dentist visit.

A dentist will prescribe a nightguard when there is visible damage of the teeth from when they rub against each other while you sleep. If you place hard plastic between your teeth, you will put scratches in the plastic versus sanding down your teeth. They are made from an accurate impression of your teeth which a stone model is created. The nightguard is then custom made to the stone model (upper or lower) and then adjusted against the opposing teeth in order for your teeth to close evenly on all of the area. This hard plastic is heat hardened before the dentist “delivers” and adjusts it to make sure it fits comfortably and you can hit all of your teeth together.

Are the soft ones more comfortable?

Initially, they may be. They are like placing a large piece of chewing gum in your mouth. It may rub your gums, depending upon how it was placed in there when it was hot. Eventually you will chew through it.

The soft nightguards are horrible for people with TMJ problems. They are not balanced and do not stabilize the joint. They can also make the muscles stronger in order to do even more damage to the joint itself.

Will my dental insurance cover it?

Everyone’s plan is different depending upon what benefits have been chosen by your employer. It can be complicated so call your insurance company and ask if they cover code D9940

In conclusion – don’t buy the nightguard from any pharmacy. You won’t like it and you won’t wear it for longer than a week. If you spend the money on preventing damaging habits from grinding your teeth- you will save money on more expensive repairs and you may have a tendency to use it because it will be valuable to you.


Dr. Linda