Over-the-Counter Nightguards: Why Can’t I just Do-It-Myself?
It is important to have a dental professional make an appliance that will protect you from clenching and grinding your teeth. Some patients clench and others grind. Only a dentist can provide a proper diagnosis and the type of nightguard which will work best. Using the incorrect nightguard, wearing it improperly, and not following up with your dentist after its placement can all cause problems for you, the patient. Grinding causes fractured teeth resulting in root canals and crowns, bridges or even implants.
There are significant risks of creating your own appliance or taking impressions at home that are not made clear on the directions. These risks are detailed below:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) nightguards are not FDA (Food and Drug Administration) or ADA (American Dental Association) approved. The mission of the FDA and the ADA is to make sure that appliances are safe and effective and do not contain harmful ingredients that may be bad for your body. Without these stamps of approval you are putting yourself at risk.
- OTC nightguards will never fully and properly custom fit your teeth. The appliance should fit like a puzzle piece. In order to do this and custom-cast your appliance, dental professionals use machinery that heats to extreme temperatures. This allows the material to fully materialize around the model of your set of teeth. Using hot water or a microwave will not be hot enough to properly mold the material.
- OTC nightguards can change the way your teeth bite together. Often the OTC nightguard will not extend to fully cover all of your back teeth. This will cause the teeth that are not covered to move and change your bite. When this happens, patients need orthodontic therapy (braces) to realign their teeth. This is costly and a huge inconvenience.
- You risk swallowing or aspirating (inhaling into lung) a poorly fitting nightguard.
The level of education and clinical training required to earn a dental degree, along with the high academic standards of dental schools, are on par with those of medical schools and are essential to preparing dentists for the safe and effective practice of oral health care.
Invest in your health and protect your teeth and gums long-term by getting your nightguard from a dental professional. The benefits much greatly outweigh risks.
Address any concerns or questions to your general dentist regarding getting fitted for your appliance.
Dr. Cirka, Dr. Jeon and Dr. Smith have been saving their patients’ teeth for years from wear, sensitivity, broken teeth, fractured teeth and lost teeth from the simple fabrication of a nightguard.
Contact us for a free evaluation to see if a nightguard will protect your teeth from wear, premature loss, fracture and reduce headaches and tension that you may be experiencing.