Have you ever wondered what your dentist means when he or she recommends that you wear a tongue guard? This small and simple piece of plastic can help to improve your oral health and protect your teeth from further damage, but it’s important to know what it does and how it works before you purchase one. In this guide, we’ll discuss the three primary benefits of using a tongue guard, as well as answer some frequently asked questions about these useful devices.
The first day
It’s not uncommon to experience discomfort in your first few days of wearing your Invisalign® aligners. You may also notice minor changes in taste and feel of certain foods. This discomfort can be alleviated by applying ice packs for 10 minutes every four hours throughout your day, as well as using cool salt water rinses (1/2 teaspoon of salt dissolved into 8 ounces of warm water) three times per day. Try holding off on chewing gum during these first few days to make sure you’re biting down gently on your aligners. In most cases, your discomfort will subside after just one or two days, but if you experience persistent pain while wearing your aligners or they are giving you trouble chewing food or speaking, stop wearing them immediately.
Types of Tongue Guards
There are three different types of tongue guards available: custom, over-the-counter (OTC), and boil-and-bite. With custom ones, a dentist makes them for you; with OTC versions, you can buy them over-the-counter from companies like NuGuard; with boil-and-bite devices, you put them in hot water then bite down to make sure they fit comfortably on your teeth. As mentioned above, everyone’s mouth is unique so no single option will work perfectly for every person. That said, here’s an overview of what to expect when trying each one out
The Advantages of Tongue Guards
The inside of your mouth isn’t exactly soft and pillowy—it has ridges, bumps, sharp teeth, etc. That’s why you probably don’t want to take random objects or chew on things that can get stuck in there. Tongue guards cover up your sharp teeth during dental procedures (where they can be very helpful), but they also prevent objects from getting stuck in your mouth. If you have braces or are considering getting them, these bite blocks braces will keep your metal trays safe when you eat certain foods like popcorn or chips that could potentially damage them.
How to Choose the Right Tongue Guard
Tongue guards come in many different shapes, sizes, materials, and styles. Choosing one can be a bit overwhelming at first. However, knowing what factors to consider beforehand can simplify things. How often do you want to wear your device? Is it painful when you clench or grind your teeth at night? Do you often wake up with an uncomfortable or even painful jaw or cheek muscles on either side of your face? If so, then you’re probably grinding your teeth (even if only during your sleep).
Where to Get a Tongue Guard
For some people, bite guards are useful at night, when you’re already asleep. This helps prevent grinding your teeth while you sleep. (If you wear braces, your orthodontist may also recommend wearing one at night.) Additionally, if you have TMJ disorder or bruxism—which are characterized by constant teeth-grinding—it might be worth trying a mouthguard to see if there’s an improvement in symptoms. But for most of us who don’t fall into those categories, we really just can’t get behind using them for everyday life.
How Long Do They Last?
Generally, most dental guards are reusable for about three to six months. This period of time depends on several factors such as: (1) Your habits and whether you’re diligent about wearing your mouthguard as directed; (2) The shape of your teeth (for custom-fitted guards) or how much plaque builds up around them (for boil-and-bite ones); and (3) The toughness of your teeth—are they more prone to decay or cavities, for example. If you’re concerned about budget, boil-and-bite mouthguards can be reused multiple times before being replaced. Customized dental guards are more expensive but will last longer.
Other Things To Consider
You don’t need to use your teeth to make these things. In fact, you shouldn’t. Let your lips (or hands) do all of that work while you focus on technique. Trust us, you’ll get better results if you approach it that way. Do yourself a favor and avoid bite blocks or braces for now—the only thing they will really do for you is protect your jaw from soreness, which isn’t even a real concern until after about six months of regular practice.
To Wear Or Not To Wear
Deciding whether or not to wear a dental retainer (or tongue guard) after braces comes down to more than just preventing unwanted metal-on-tooth contact. While some people experience excessive tooth movement from not wearing their retainer (not everyone will), using one also helps you keep your new smile looking its best by keeping your teeth positioned properly for long-term retention. Plus, retaining your new smile keeps you from having to go through orthodontic treatment all over again! That’s why we say it’s never too early—or too late—to wear your retainer.