A dental appliance worn over the teeth while sleeping to protect them from damage caused by teeth grinding or clenching, also known as bruxism. Night guard is usually custom-made by a dentist to fit the patient's teeth and can be made from various materials, including acrylic and soft or hard plastics.
It helps to absorb the forces created by clenching or grinding and prevents the teeth from contacting each other, thereby reducing the risk of damage to teeth, gums, and jaw joints. It can also help alleviate symptoms such as jaw pain, headaches, and earaches that are associated with bruxism.
Soft night guards are typically made from a soft, flexible material such as silicone. Soft night guards are comfortable to wear, making them a popular choice for patients who have trouble adjusting to the hardness of hard night guards.
They are also less likely to cause irritation or soreness in the gums or other soft tissues of the mouth. However, they may not be as effective at protecting teeth from the forces generated by grinding and clenching as hard night guards or dual-layer night guards.
Soft night guards are typically recommended for patients with mild to moderate teeth grinding or clenching habits, or for patients who have sensitive teeth or gums.
They are also sometimes recommended for patients who have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, as they can help to reduce pain and discomfort associated with these conditions.