Jan 13, 2010



Bellevue Cosmetic Dentists at Brookside Dental in Bellevue, WA, recommend the purchase and use of a night guard in some instances when we place new front porcelain veneers to protect them and preserve the new smile. What is the reason or reasons that a night guard should be used? The night guard, or bite guard, is a custom fit plastic shield that can protect your teeth in several ways.

Generally, nightguards are recommended by by your Bellevue Dentist for a variety of dentistry problems. Bruxism, which can be grinding or clenching of the teeth, is a destructive habit that can cause damage either to the teeth, their supporting bone or the jaw joint. Bruxism can wear the teeth down, cause pain in the jaw joints or loosen the teeth by destroying the supporting bone. The night guard helps to control these problems related to bruxism by distributing the biting forces more evenly around the mouth. Additionally, the night guard acts as a physical barrier to any potential direct friction between upper and lower teeth.

The bite guard can help stabilize loose teeth to some extent. It places the teeth at rest by distributing the forces evenly on the bite, rather than on individual teeth. This can allow any loose teeth to stabilize because they are not be moved on a continuous basis by adjacent teeth.
Bite adjustment may have to be made to allow the teeth to function harmoniously. The night guard can aid in the process of bite adjustment and help in the maintenance of the final achieved bite position and arrangement.

As mentioned above, we recommend the use of a bite guard appliance in some instances when we place new anterior veneers to protect them and preserve the appearance of the new beautiful smile. Also, adjustments may be needed to an existing night guard when the patient has any major dentistry performed such as the placement of new crowns or tooth contouring. Generally, these adjustments are fairly minor and are easily made.

When first beginning to use a night guard, the patient may notice more saliva in their saliva, their speech may be temporarily slurred and it may take a little longer to fall asleep. These annoyances will pass quickly. In fact, the patient may notice that their jaw muscles will begin to feel more relaxed which will help them rest and sleep more easily. After adjusting to the night guard, many of our patients say, "I can't sleep without my night guard."


You should inspect your night guard on a regular basis for flaws or cracks. After wearing the night guard for some period of time, shiny spots or wear grooves on the biting surface may appear. Usually, these are just normal wear marks. However, they should be evaluated regularly at the time of your regular dental appointments to prevent any potential problems such as a broken night guard. In some situations, a new appliance will have to be made for the patient, but in other situations the night guard can be repaired.

The night guard can be cleaned on a regular basis each morning after wearing by brushing it with your toothbrush and toothpaste. It does not have to be stored in any special solution. However, storage of the night guard in the special box that it comes in will help protect it from accidental breakage as well as from their small children and pets. Yes, you wouldn't believe how many people tell us that their dog ate their night guards or broke them. In the office, we can clean the night guard ultrasonically to remove any tartar that has accumulated and inspect it thoroughly to determine if it needs any adjustments.


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