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Night Guards Vs. Sports Guards: Understanding The Difference

When it comes to protecting your teeth, both during sleep and physical activities, there are two common oral devices you might have heard of: night guards and sports guards. While they may seem similar at first, they serve different purposes and cater to distinct needs. Understanding the difference between night guards and sports guards is essential to ensure proper oral health and safeguard your teeth in various situations. In this blog post, we will explore the characteristics, functions, and benefits of each type of guard, helping you make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

Night Guards: Night guards, also known as occlusal guards or bite splints, are dental devices specifically designed to protect your teeth during sleep. They are typically made of soft or hard plastic and custom-fitted to your teeth by a dentist. Night guards are primarily used to alleviate the symptoms of bruxism, a condition characterized by teeth grinding and clenching during sleep.

Key Features and Benefits:

  1. Prevents teeth grinding: Night guards create a physical barrier between your upper and lower teeth, reducing the effects of grinding and clenching.
  2. Protects tooth enamel: Grinding and clenching can lead to enamel erosion, but night guards absorb the forces and protect your teeth from damage.
  3. Reduces jaw pain and headaches: By providing a cushioning effect, night guards help alleviate the stress on your jaw joints and muscles, reducing associated discomfort.
  4. Enhances sleep quality: Night guards promote better sleep by reducing disruptions caused by grinding noises and associated discomfort.

Sports Guards: Sports guards, also known as athletic mouthguards or mouth protectors, are protective devices commonly used during physical activities and sports to prevent oral injuries. They are typically made of a soft, resilient material that fits over your teeth, gums, and sometimes, your lips. Sports guards are available in various sizes and can be customized or purchased as “boil-and-bite” options that mold to your teeth.

Key Features and Benefits:

  1. Prevents dental injuries: Sports guards act as a cushion, absorbing and distributing the impact of blows or falls, thereby reducing the risk of tooth fractures, dislodgment, or loss.
  2. Protects soft tissues: In addition to teeth, sports guards also provide a layer of protection to your lips, cheeks, and tongue, reducing the likelihood of lacerations and other soft tissue injuries.
  3. Enhances speech and breathing: Well-fitted sports guards allow for clear speech and normal breathing while providing effective protection.
  4. Boosts confidence: Wearing a sports guard gives athletes peace of mind, allowing them to focus on their performance rather than worrying about potential dental injuries.

Night guards and sports guards may appear similar at a glance, but they serve distinct purposes and cater to different needs. Night guards are designed to protect your teeth from the damaging effects of teeth grinding and clenching during sleep, while sports guards are specifically crafted to prevent dental and oral injuries during physical activities. Both devices play a vital role in maintaining oral health and preventing long-term complications. If you experience teeth grinding or bruxism, consult your dentist for a custom-fitted night guard. For sports enthusiasts or athletes, a well-fitted sports guard is an essential piece of protective equipment that should be worn during activities to safeguard your teeth and oral tissues.Remember, whether you’re catching up on your sleep or engaging in sports, it’s essential to prioritize the well-being of your teeth and oral health. Speak to your dentist or dental professional at Barton Dental to determine which type of guard is best suited for your specific needs, ensuring optimal protection and a healthy smile.

To book your next appointment with Barton Dental, simply call us at 866-317-7498, email us at [email protected], or visit our website Our experienced receptionists are ready to assist you with scheduling your appointment. Choose the option that works best for you and get started on your path to excellent dental care.

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Written by Marcus Richards

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