Occlusal or night guards are valuable oral appliances used to protect your teeth while you are sleeping. Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea or bruxism often clench their jaw and grind their teeth, which causes an abrasive effect. These unconscious actions could wear the teeth down to their stubs if left untreated for a long time. This is why we at Historic Hyde Park Dentistry recommend using occlusal guards to keep your teeth safe if you have this condition.
Here are some best practices in how to use your occlusal guards, how to keep them clean, and how to keep them from getting damaged:
Rinse Them After Use
Your night guards could house thousands of bacteria and saliva from the previous night. If not cleaned, they could gradually form a visible layer of microbes on the walls. Hence, it is best to rinse the occlusal guard with lukewarm water as soon as you take it off. It would be a good practice to brush it gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush (without the use of toothpaste) to keep it clean.
Lay It to Dry Completely
Once you clean the night guard, allow it to dry out completely. Leaving any water droplets on it allows bacterial growth, which is why it is best that you place it on a clean, flat surface to dry for a few minutes before putting it away.
Store It Safely
Your dentist at Historic Hyde Park Dentistry will provide you with a storage case to keep your night guard when not in use. Always keep the oral appliance safely in the case whenever you take it off. Many individuals tend to leave it on their night table or in their bathroom, which isn’t a good practice as they could warp due to varying humidity and temperature.
Do Not Chew on the Night Guard
The night guard would be custom-fabricated from dental-grade plastic material that has a definite contour. Chewing on it could upset its shape and make it quite uncomfortable for you to use. Once they lose their ideal contour, they would lose their purpose and not be able to protect the teeth as expected.
We invite you to schedule a consultation with our team of dental experts at Historic Hyde Park Dentistry to get all your oral concerns addressed at the earliest. Please call us at (813) 253-3041 or schedule an online consultation and we’ll be happy to help.