Night Guard Vs. Sports Guard

Night Guards

When it comes to protecting your smile, you need the right tools—and that starts with mouthguards. There are two major types of mouthguards that you might encounter: Night guards and sports guards. Dental patients often think they look similar and should be used for similar functions, but this isn’t entirely true. 

Decide which type of night/sports guards are the right fit for you in this detailed breakdown of what you can expect from each. 

What Is the Difference Between Sports Guards and Night Guards?

The reason that many people get confused between sports mouthguards and a dental night guard is that they do some similar things. Namely, they protect your teeth from unnecessary damage. While they both have an important role to play in maintaining your smile, it’s key that you use them for the proper application. 

Night mouthguards are primarily designed to prevent teeth grinding, while a sports guard is used to prevent impact injuries during contact sports. 

Let’s take a closer look at how each one works: 

Night Guards Help Prevent Teeth Grinding

Do you find that you have a habit of grinding and clenching in your sleep? You might not even notice it while you slumber, but you likely feel the effects of it in the morning. Jaw pain is a prevalent concern when you deal with this type of sleep bruxism. 

However, that isn’t all that nighttime grinding and clenching can do to your mouth. 

Repeated wear and tear on the upper and lower teeth can result in worn enamel on the surface of the tooth. Over time, you can wear through the important outer layer of the teeth and may start to see some sensitivity in the teeth. 

Chances are that you may even deal with a lack of sleep because teeth-grinding pain can wake you up out of even the deepest sleep. 

Sports Guards Help Prevent Impact Injuries

On the other hand, a sports mouthguard is designed to protect your teeth when playing contact sports. You never want to take a chance that a tooth will be knocked out or chipped when playing a sport like football or hockey. 

Even sports that are less likely to cause injury can benefit from a custom sports guard. Athletic mouthguards can be used in almost any sport to shield the teeth from accidental injuries, such as getting hit in the mouth by another player or falling. 

Sports Guards and Custom Guards

If you’re interested in getting a sports mouthguard, then it might be worthwhile to look into a custom mouthguard. These can be made to protect the upper and lower teeth, especially if you have braces that could damage the cheeks, gums, or lips. 

A custom-fitted sports mouthguard is essential to make sure that you protect your teeth in a way that fits your mouth. While you can buy pre-made sports guards, they will be more likely to protect tooth health if it’s tailored to the mouth it’s protecting. 

3 Reasons Not To Wear a Sports Guard As a Night Guard

A night mouthguard is often more expensive than a sports mouthguard, which means that many people will try to use sports guards as night guards. This isn’t the ideal situation, though, and it may not really help with your sleep bruxism. 

Less Saliva and Bacteria Trapped

Sports mouthguards are not designed for long-term wear. Most of the time, athletes will wear them for just an hour or two at a time before taking a break. This means that the buildup of saliva and bacteria in the mouth usually is not such a huge deal. If you wear them all night long, bacteria and saliva could pose a problem. 

Night mouthguards are designed for you to wear for eight hours at night. They are uniquely designed to minimize saliva and bacteria trapped by the mouth guard.

Fitted Around the Gums

Sports mouthguards are designed to cover the tooth surface from the gums to the surface of the tooth that you use for biting. They protect you from impact at any point on the tooth. This is detrimental if you try to wear them for an extended period of time, such as overnight. 

A night guard is designed to only protect the biting surface of the tooth and does not reach all the way to the gums. If it did, bacteria could become trapped there and lead to gingivitis or other forms of gum disease. 

Jaw Pain

Last but not least, you may encounter more pain in the jaw if you use sports mouthguards instead of night guards. A mouthguard designed for sports tends to be padded to soften the blows that are sometimes made to the teeth. This additional padding means that it forces your jaw open wider.

For an hour or two at a time, this is no problem for most people. Keeping the jaw open this way for eight hours a night can lead to pain, though. 

In contrast, dental night guards are much thinner and don’t have the same result. They’re designed to be just thick enough to minimize the effect of your teeth grinding on the surface of the tooth. 

Your jaw will feel just well rested as it did if you didn’t have anything in place overnight. 

Looking for a Teeth Guard? 

Whether you need a dental night guard or one designed for contact sports, you need to get the help of a skilled dentist to custom-fit your guard. This allows you to have the comfort you need and to protect your teeth to the best of your ability. Allow our experienced dental clinic in Winnipeg to help you get the right mouthguard. 

Fresh Dental offers both night mouthguards and sports mouthguards to protect your smile through every event and circumstance. No matter what you may need, reach out to us today to learn more about how we can help you!