Should I wear an upper or lower nightguard?
You should wear a nightguard if you grind your teeth at nighttime. Wearing a nightguard helps protect your teeth against breaking and cracking. It also protects your dental restorations, jaw joint (TMJ), and facial muscles. But before you purchase a nightguard, you need to decide whether you’re going to wear your nightguard on top or bottom? And no, you can’t wear both an upper and lower nightguard at the same time (this would be considered a sleep apnea device). Therefore, you need to choose whether you want to wear an upper or lower night guard. So which is the best option for your mouth? Here’s how to decide:
Lower night guard is the default choice
Wearing a lower night guard is considered the standard by most dentists. A lower night guard is more comfortable and it’s less likely to fall out of your mouth due to gravitational forces. It also directly protects your TMJ as well as your lower jaw. We recommend that you go with a lower nightguard, unless there’s a reason not to do so.
When to wear an upper nightguard instead
As mentioned above, a lower nightguard is usually the way to go. Of course, there are a few cases where you should opt to wear an upper night guard instead. Here are some examples of where an upper night guard is a more suitable option for your mouth:
(1) Multiple missing lower teeth
If you’re missing a few lower teeth it’s going to be difficult to wear a lower night guard. After all, you need to have enough teeth to stabilize your nightguard in its place. If you have several missing lower teeth, it becomes difficult for your nightguard to sit in place. Therefore it’s preferable to wear an upper nightguard in these situations.
(2) Dental implants on your bottom teeth
It’s preferable to avoid wearing a nightguard on top of dental implants. Nightguards hug your teeth very tightly, thus pulling on your teeth as well as implants. This heavy pressure could potentially damage your dental implants over time. As a result, it’s preferable not to wear your nightguard on top of dental implants. If you have dental implants on your bottom teeth then you might want to consider wearing an upper nightguard. The other option is to visit your dentist to have him or her relive the areas that sit on the implants to protect them.
(3) Wearing a lower orthodontic retainer
This applies to those of you who have had braces or clear aligner treatment in the past. Generally speaking, the lower teeth are more likely to shift following orthodontic treatment. This means you might be better off wearing an upper nightguard along with a lower retainer. This is especially true if you still have your wisdom teeth in your mouth which could cause your lower teeth to move around.
(4) Difficulty with wearing a lower nightguard
Not everyone ends up wearing their nightguard. Some people have a small lower jaw, others have a large tongue, and some just can’t get comfortable with wearing their nightguard. Regardless of the reason, some folks find it difficult to wear a lower nightguard. You should try wearing an upper nightguard if you’ve struggled with a lower nightguard in the past.
How to choose between an upper or lower night guard?
Heavy tooth grinders and those with actual symptoms, such as persistent headaches or a history of tooth fracture, should highly consider wearing a custom nightguard. The first step to wearing a nightguard is to choose where to wear your nightguard. If you’re still struggling with which type of nightguard to wear, talk to your dentist. You can also experiment with over-the-counter nightguards to see which one you’re more comfortable with. This way, you can make a more informed decision when it comes to getting your custom nightguard. Either way, be sure to get a well-designed nightguard and make sure you wear it every night. Otherwise, be ready to spend a lot of time in your dentist’s chair, fixing your broken teeth and failed dental restorations!