The value of the right night guard can be difficult for patients to fully appreciate. But dentists know it can be the key to maintaining a patient’s smile, dental health, and even mental health. Patients who are unaware of recent advancements in technology might be discouraged from taking advantage of it because of the added costs, coverage variability, and discomfort of traditional models.
In our webinar on night guard materials and best use cases, Dandy Lab’s night guard experts explored how far we have come with this appliance. The materials and methods of the modern night guard are a far cry from the uncomfortable models of the past. Once your patients see the benefits, so will your practice.
Continuing reading to for a brief overview on night guards and six important takeaways from our webinar: Night Guards: Learn About Materials and Best Use Cases.
What is a night guard?
For those unfamiliar, a night guard is a kind of mouth protector that covers the biting surfaces of your teeth. While night guard is what it is most commonly called, it has other names, such as a mouth guard, occlusal guard, bite splint, dental guard, nocturnal bite plate, etc. Suggesting an upper or lower night guard depends on the patient’s case severity. As a dental professional, it’s important to know everything about a dental night guard to ease a patient’s concerns beforehand.
To ensure that night guards are medically necessary, you can assess their bite and deterioration with an intraoral scanner. Paired with CAD/CAM technology, you and your patients can get a better picture of the current situation before crafting the perfect night guard.
6 facts you should know about night guards
1. Night guards are key to maintaining any restoration
Restorations are complex and expensive procedures that are essential for dental health. Night guards ensure this work is long-lasting, preventing the need for further work and reducing the need for revisions over time. The benefit to the patient is that night guards are a cost-effective and preventative addition to a their care.
2. Night guards are a multi-purpose tool
Night guards can help relieve many health issues, including difficulty sleeping, migraines, headaches, jaw pain issues, and nighttime congestion. Clenching and teeth grinding are often the culprits behind these afflictions, and a night mouth guard can make a significant difference, leading to a marked improvement in comfort and overall health.
3. Consider flexibility vs. functionality
When it comes to materials, dentists are familiar with Soft, Hard, and Hard/Soft options, all of which come with inevitable tradeoffs. Soft guards are more comfortable but do not withstand force effectively and need replacement more often than hard guards. They can also encourage clenching and chewing because of their more pliable texture.
- Hard night guards are more durable and more effective for heavier bruxism but offer less comfort — a hurdle for patient compliance.
- Hard/Soft has often been the ideal middle ground for most cases, but these are still far less durable than Hard night guards, so they will need more frequent replacement.
If what’s out on the market doesn’t meet your standards, consider ordering a custom night guard. A custom night guard, not only would the size be customized but you can also decide the material, softness, and hardness.
Here is our comparison of night guard material characteristics:
4. Key splint: The newest evolution in night guard materials
This modern resin-based material leads the pack with its impressive combination of flexibility, durability, and comfort, even for significant bruxism. Key Splint night guards are digitally designed and printed, taking full advantage of 3D scanning technology to create an easily replicable fit. The thermodynamic nature of Key Splints is where the real magic lies: the material becomes flexible in hot water, allowing the night guard to be formed to the patient’s mouth for a perfect fit – offering both excellent strength and remarkable comfort.
5. Digital production: The simplest + most effective method of manufacturing night guards
Key Splint night guards are easily produced using 3D scans, creating highly accurate guards with minimal adjustments needed. Replacements are a snap using the existing scans, so there is no need for a patient visit until the dental guard has arrived at the office for pickup, making the process cost-effective for both patient and practice.
6. Prescribing night guards: Patients need nudging
Patients may not easily grasp the immense value of integrating a night guard into their routine. Hence, dentists often have to educate patients in order to achieve case acceptance. But the benefits over time are significant. Once your patients understand the value of night guards, not only for protecting existing restorations but also for preventing the need for future work and easing other more insidious health issues, they are far more likely to opt into this upgrade in care. This simple addition can be a game-changer, leading to better dental health for patients and significant benefits for your practice. Learn more about Dandy’s night guard offering here.