Retainers and Night Guards
Dental retainers are devices that fit into your mouth and adhere to your upper or lower jaw. Retainers, as the name implies, are made to retain the alignment of your teeth. Retainers are frequently used as follow-up treatment to braces or Invisalign.
After you are done with your braces or Invisalign, your Orange County dentist will ask you to wear a retainer. This is because your teeth will shift around for a while naturally for several months (or even a few years) after they are set in place. A retainer helps your teeth "remember" where they are supposed to be, and will keep them there until their positions are stable.
There are removable retainers (clear plastic or wire), and bonded retainers, which are not removable. Most retainers are removable. Depending on factors such as your age and the nature of the treatment, you may be asked to wear the retainer as often as possible or only at night. If you are prescribed a retainer, you should be sure to wear it every day. If you skip some days of wearing it, you run the risk of undoing the treatment that was done using Invisalign or metal braces.
At Dental Oasis of Orange, we will take care of every step to get you an effective and comfortable retainer. Our top-notch dentists use the latest methods to create your retainer, and will educate you on how often you must wear it, as well as the best ways to care for the appliance.
Night guards (sometimes spelled "nightguards") are devices that, like retainers, fit onto your upper or lower jaw. They do exactly what their name implies: they guard your teeth at night. Night guards are also known as "bite splints,""bite planes,""mouth guards," and "occlusal splints."
At Dental Oasis of Orange County, we may use night guards to protect teeth that have recently undergone treatment, such as newly fitted crowns or fillings. The most common use for night guards, however, is to prevent wear and tear on your teeth resulting from bruxism.
Bruxism is, simply put, habitual grinding and clenching of the teeth. Stress, uneven teeth, or another medical condition may trigger bruxism. Even when the cause has been taken care of, bruxism can remain as a habit.
Bruxism can occur during the day but more typically takes place during sleep hours. This is why many people who have bruxism don't even know it. Symptoms include pain in the teeth, sore jaws, or waking up with an earache or headache.
Those suffering from bruxism sometimes don't show any of these symptoms, especially in the early stages. Many people realize they grind their teeth at night only when a partner lets them know, since the grinding and clenching can be quite loud. Sometimes, their Orange County dentist may be the first to notice, due to the unusual wear patterns.
Left alone, bruxism can cause unusual discomfort, and damage the teeth as well as any dental restorations. That's why it's a good idea to get regular oral exams at your Huntington Beach dentist's office, to ensure that the bruxism is caught before it ruins your oral health.
Your Huntington Beach Dentist may recommend reconstruction of the teeth for a better bite and more even wear pattern. In some cases, night guards are the best solution for bruxism. Your night guard is custom-made to fit your mouth and will protect your teeth from grinding that takes place at night. Night guards are made of a soft composite material that will not break easily from the grinding.
At Dental Oasis of Orange County, we carefully assess your bite patterns to determine what kind of treatment would be appropriate. If a night guard is the best solution, we will create a form-fitted one that is not only comfortable, but also effectively protects your teeth from bruxism.