Night Guards Available at Oakes Family Dentistry in Vancouver, WA 

Night guards, also known as occlusal guards, are crucial pieces of equipment to protect your teeth from grinding, clenching, and they help reduce soreness and pain the jaw.  Fitting snugly over the upper teeth, night guards protect the entire oral region from traumatic injury, preserving both the esthetic appearance and the health of the smile. If you experience any of these symptoms, there are several night guard options available. When you come into our office that serves the Vancouver, WA area, Dr. Michael Oakes and his team can help you choose the right one.

How can night guards protect my teeth and jaw?

Though night guards are primarily designed to protect the teeth, they can also vastly reduce the amount of pain that one can experience from grinding and clenching the jaw. They can also assist with sleep apnea treatment, reduce snoring, and protect your investment of cosmetic dental work.

What type of night guard should I purchase?

Though there are literally thousands of night guard brands, most brands fall into three major categories: stock night guards, boil and bite night guards, and customized night guards.

Some points to consider when choosing a night guard include:

  • How much money is available to spend?
  • How often does the child play sports?
  • What kind of sport does the child play? (Basketball and baseball tend to cause the most oral injuries).

In light of these points, here is an overview of the advantages and disadvantages of each type of night guard:

Stock night guards – These night guards can be bought directly off the shelf and immediately fitted into the child’s mouth.  The fit is universal (one-size-fits-all), meaning that that the night guard doesn’t adjust.  Stock night guards are very cheap, easy to fit, and quick to locate at sporting goods stores.  Pediatric dentists favor this type of night guard least, as it provides minimal protection, obstructs proper breathing and speaking, and tends to be uncomfortable.

Boil and bite night guards – These night guards are usually made from thermoplastic and are easily located at most sporting goods stores.  First, the thermoplastic must be immersed in hot water to make it pliable, and then it must be pressed on the child’s teeth to create a custom mold.  Boil and bite night guards are slightly more expensive than stock night guards, but tend to offer more protection, feel more comfortable in the mouth, and allow for easy speech production and breathing.

Customized night guards – These night guards offer the greatest degree of protection, and are custom-made by the dentist.  First, the dentist makes an impression of the child’s teeth using special material, and then the night guard is constructed over the mold.  Customized night guards are more expensive and take longer to fit, but are more comfortable, orthodontically correct, and fully approved by the dentist.

Silent Nite - In addition to teeth and jaw-related issues, there are night guards that can help with other problems. Silent Nite is a thin and comfortable device that can prevent the unhealthy effects of snoring as well as sleep apnea. Silent Nite uses S-shaped connectors attached to upper and lower trays to position the jaw forward. This increases the airway space and also decreases air velocity and soft tissue vibration. The trays that the connectors are attached to are made of a soft inner layer with a hard outer layer that is both durable and BPA-free. Silent Nite has many other benefits, including minimizing stiff jaw joints and reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease. 

If you have questions or concerns about choosing a night guard for your child, please contact our friendly staff at Oakes Family Dentistry.


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