You may be wondering: what is the difference between a dental night guard and a mouth guard? Can I use a sport mouth guard to protect from teeth grinding? Well, thankfully, this article answers these questions.

What is a Dental Night Guard?

An occlusal splint, more commonly called as night guard, bite guard or dental guard, is used to protect the teeth while you’re asleep. Most dentists advice the use of night guard to patients suffering from bruxism or involuntary teeth grinding. When a person habitually grinds his teeth, he is suffering from a condition called bruxism. This affects 10 percent of the total popular and as many as 15 percent of children.

Bruxism can chip your teeth, increase tooth sensitivity and ruin enamel. Further, too much clenching of the haw may lead to TMJ disorder (temporomandibular joint disorder) which can sometimes require surgery.

What is a Mouth Guard?

A mouth guard is an oral device that covers the gums and teeth to protect and prevent injury to the lips, gums and teeth. The American Dental Association suggests wearing a mouth guard for sports played in the winter and fall:

·         Football

·         Basketball

·         Field Hockey

·         Gymnastics

·         Ice Hockey

·         Lacrosse

·         Rugby

·         Volleyball

·         Boxing

·         Wrestling

·         Ultimate Frisbee

It is recommended to use custom mouth guards over store-bought as it provides more than just protection for the teeth. Based on one study, high school football players who wear store-bought mouth guards were twice likely to suffer from mild traumatic brain injuries than those who wear properly fitted mouth guards. Tell your pediatric dentist to make dental impression for you. It will be sent to a laboratory that creates mouth guards.

Checking the Material

A night guard is intended to be worn every night or every time the child sleeps, so it’s made using a material that’s not too thick but tough enough to serve its purpose.

On the other hand, a sports mouth guard is a device meant for athletes or players to protect their teeth from any injuries due to a physical blow on the face. Sports mouth guard is often fabricated with a thicker material. It extends to cover the entire jaw and the gums so that the whole mouth can be protected. Sports mouth guard can be made to be part of your child’s team uniform. It can be made to incorporate the team’s logo/sign or color.

Understanding the Function

Both mouth guards and night guards are designed to protect the teeth, however, they protect your teeth in a distinct way. A night guard works by protecting the surface of the teeth from wear and tear du to constant clenching and grinding. A mouth guard is mainly work to protect the mouth and teeth in case of accident or sudden, forceful impact.

The difference between the two is that a night guard has to be made from a durable hard plastic to endure grinding over long periods of time, while a mouth guard is made from a softer material that can absorb the force of sudden blow. Also, the dental night guard only cover the occlusal surface of the teeth while the mouth guard must cover your entire teeth, as well as the gums.