Night bite-guards are also known as mouthguards and soft occlusal guards or splints. They are sometimes suggested by dentists to help patients who clench or grind their teeth and/or to protect dental restorations like fillings, crowns or veneers.
Dentist made vs Shop bought mouthguards
Mouthguards should always be made by a dentist or bought with advice from a dentist.
Despite claims on packaging and online, mouthguards bought in shops or online may not be appropriate for your particular situation and could cause problems. Possible problems that can be caused by using the incorrect type of mouthguard include unwanted movement of teeth resulting in an open-bite where only your back teeth (but not your front teeth) can bite together, pain and problems with your jaw joints, and pain and trauma to your gums.
How to use your mouthguard
Dentists usually advise wearing your mouthguard overnight. It is important that you always brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste and floss before wearing your mouthguard, and then again after you take your mouthguard out.
If wearing your mouthguard helps then you should continue use. If using your mouthguard makes your symptoms worse then you should consult your dentist for further advice.
How to clean your mouthguard
The best way to clean your mouthguard is to use soap and warm water, perhaps with an old toothbrush. Never use boiling hot water, since this can melt and deform mouthguards.
Disinfecting tablets can also be used to clean your mouthguard up to twice per week.
When to replace your mouthguard
Mouthguards often last for a few years, but soft/rubbery mouthguards tend to loose their elasticity over time. You should replace your soft mouthguard when it becomes hard and uncomfortable, or if you manage to grind holes into the biting surface. Some patients wish to replace their mouthguard if it becomes stained and unsanitary. Any of these issues would be justification for a new mouthguard.
How much do mouthguards cost?
Soft occlusal guards and night bite guards fall under the most expensive NHS charge band – Band 3. Some dentists may be able to offer mouthguards cheaper privately, usually in the region of £100-£200.