Night Guards in Bethesda & Chevy Chase, MD

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Are you constantly waking up with headaches, tinnitus, or jaw pain? Sleep bruxism or night-time teeth grinding, may be the culprit. Unlike daytime bruxism, sleep bruxism is likely to cause even more serious issues such as worn-down enamel and chronic pain because you aren’t aware you’re doing it. Fortunately, at Smiles of Chevy Chase, our Greater Washington Area dentist, Dr. Despina Markogiannakis, offers custom-made night guards to protect your teeth and improve your sleep.

Learn more about bruxism and the benefits of custom night guards at Smiles of Chevy Chase by reading the guide below.

What are Night Guards?

Night guards are custom dental appliances that protect your teeth from the effects of teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Wearing these appliances while sleeping provides a cushion between the upper and lower teeth, reducing pressure on the teeth and jaw muscles. Night guards are made from high-quality materials and are customized to fit your mouth for maximum comfort and effectiveness.

What Causes Bruxism?

Bruxism can be caused by several factors, including:

Identifying the underlying cause of bruxism is crucial to determine the most effective treatment plan. Dr. Markogiannakis will diagnose your bruxism and determine the underlying cause, allowing the night guard to be combined with additional treatments for more effective results.

Benefits of Custom Night Guards

Utilizing a custom night guard can effectively alleviate issues caused by sleep bruxism and jaw clenching, including:


Bruxism can exert excessive pressure on the jaw and facial muscles, resulting in tension headaches. Custom night guards help reduce the intensity and frequency of such headaches, promoting better sleep and overall well-being.

Tooth Pain

Grinding and clenching can lead to tooth pain and sensitivity. By providing a cushioning barrier between the upper and lower teeth, night guards significantly decrease the impact of these forces, preventing tooth damage and discomfort.

Jaw Discomfort

The constant strain caused by bruxism often leads to jaw pain and soreness. Custom night guards create a comfortable and balanced bite, reducing the stress on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and easing jaw discomfort.


Bruxism-related inflammation in the gums and surrounding tissues can be alleviated with the use of night guards. By creating a protective barrier, night guards minimize the potential for irritation and inflammation, promoting healthier oral tissues.

Preventing Worn Enamel

The repetitive grinding action during sleep can wear down the enamel, the protective outer layer of the teeth. Custom night guards act as a cushion, preventing direct contact between the upper and lower teeth and safeguarding the enamel from erosion.

Reducing Tooth Sensitivity

Exposed dentin due to enamel wear can result in tooth sensitivity to hot or cold stimuli. Night guards help preserve the enamel, decreasing sensitivity and enhancing comfort during eating and drinking.

Protecting Against Receding Gum Line

Bruxism can contribute to gum recession, which exposes the tooth roots and can lead to increased tooth sensitivity and vulnerability to decay. Night guards aid in preventing excessive pressure on the gums, minimizing the risk of gum recession.

Enhancing Sleep Quality

By reducing the disruptive effects of bruxism, custom night guards promote better sleep patterns. A well-rested night allows individuals to wake up feeling refreshed and energized, positively impacting their overall physical and mental health.

Long-term Dental Health

Custom night guards offer a proactive approach to safeguarding dental health. By preventing damage caused by bruxism, they contribute to the preservation of natural teeth, reducing the need for extensive dental treatments in the future.

The Night Guard Process

Initial Consultation

Before getting your custom-made night guard, you’ll attend an initial consultation with Dr. Markogiannakis at our Chevy Chase dental office. During the consultation, Dr. Markogiannakis will examine your teeth and jaw to diagnose your bruxism and determine if a night guard is the right solution for you. Your consultation is a great time to ask any questions or voice any concerns you have.

Impression Taking & Design

If you’re approved for a custom night guard, our team will take impressions and digital X-rays of your mouth to create a custom night guard. Smiles of Chevy Chase will send your information to a dental laboratory where your night guard will be crafted.


When your custom night guard arrives at our Chevy Chase dental office, you’ll come in for the fitting. Dr. Markogiannakis will ensure a comfortable fit, making minor adjustments if necessary.


During your fitting, our team will provide instructions on night guard care to ensure its durability. For effective results, wearing the night guard every night is crucial. If it doesn't alleviate the symptoms, contact our office so Dr. Markogiannakis can explore other issues or alternative treatments.

Night Guard Aftercare

Proper care and maintenance of your night guard are essential to ensure its longevity and effectiveness. Here's a bulleted list of night guard aftercare tips:

  • Cleaning: Rinse the night guard with cool or lukewarm water before and after each use. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to gently brush the night guard to remove any debris or plaque buildup. Avoid using hot water, as it can distort the night guard's shape.
  • Storage: Always store the night guard in its designated case when not in use to protect it from damage, dust, and bacteria. Keep the case clean by washing it regularly with soap and water and allowing it to dry before storing the night guard inside.
  • Avoid Harmful Substances: Refrain from using harsh chemicals, alcohol-based mouthwashes, or hot water to clean the night guard, as they can damage the material.
  • Regular Check-ups: Schedule regular dental check-ups to have your night guard examined by your dentist for signs of wear or damage. If any issues are detected, follow Dr. Markogiannakis’s advice on repair or replacement.
  • Personal Hygiene: Always wash your hands before handling the night guard to minimize the transfer of germs to your mouth.
  • Keep Away from Pets: Avoid leaving the night guard exposed where pets can reach it, as they might mistake it for a chew toy and cause damage.
  • Avoid Grinding or Clenching During the Day: If you suffer from daytime bruxism, make a conscious effort to avoid grinding or clenching your teeth, as it can strain the night guard and reduce its effectiveness.
  • Replace as Needed: Depending on the material and wear, night guards may need replacement every one to five years. Follow your dentist's recommendations for replacement to maintain optimal protection.
  • Keep in a Cool, Dry Place: Avoid leaving the night guard in direct sunlight, extreme heat, or damp conditions, as these factors can affect the night guard's shape and durability.
  • Avoid Sharing: Do not share your night guard with others, as it is custom-fitted to your teeth and could lead to discomfort or hygiene concerns for others.

Following these night guard aftercare tips will not only prolong the lifespan of your night guard but also ensure it continues to provide the best protection against teeth grinding and clenching. Remember to consult your Chevy Chase dentist if you have any concerns or questions about the proper care of your night guard.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will my dental insurance cover the cost of custom night guards?

Dental insurance may cover part of the cost for custom night guards if you’ve been diagnosed with bruxism or jaw clenching. Your dental office can verify your coverage and benefits by contacting your insurance carrier. During the consultation, your dentist will discuss cost estimates, both with and without dental insurance, and the different payment methods your dental office accepts. If necessary, they may also assist with medical financing to make your treatment more affordable.

I have a history of sensitive gums and teeth. Will a custom night guard exacerbate this issue, or can it provide relief for sensitive teeth?

Custom night guards can provide relief for sensitive teeth by reducing the pressure on the teeth and jaw muscles. Your dentist will ensure the custom night guard fits your mouth for maximum comfort and effectiveness.

How often should I replace my custom night guard, and are there any signs that indicate it's time for a replacement?

Custom night guards typically last for several years with proper care and maintenance. Signs that indicate it's time for a replacement include visible wear and tear, cracks or holes in the material, and discomfort or pain while wearing the night guard.

My child has been diagnosed with bruxism. Is there a pediatric version of custom night guards, and at what age should they start using them?

Custom night guards are available for children and can be customized to fit their mouths for maximum comfort and effectiveness. The age at which children should start using night guards varies depending on the severity of their bruxism and their dental development. Your child’s dentist can guide you on when to start using a night guard for your child.

Protect Your Teeth and Experience Restful Nights; Call Smiles of Chevy Chase!

Night guards not only provide relief from unpleasant symptoms but also contribute to overall oral health and prevent future issues. If you think custom night guards could be the remedy for you or wish to learn more, contact our dental office in Chevy Chase, MD by dialing 301-652-0656. You can also fill out the contact form in the upper right-hand corner of the page, and one of our friendly team members will get back to you shortly. Dr. Markogiannakis offers custom night guards to patients in the greater Washington area, including Chevy Chase and surrounding areas such as Bethesda, Somerset, and Forest Hills, MD.

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*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.