This may seem like an odd question. This may seem like a very good question. To be honest with you, we are confronted with this situation almost every month. So, I decided to post information on this to assist you with the differences.
Whitening trays are made the same way fluoride trays are made. They are made of thinner flexible material of uniform thickness. The intent of whitening trays is to carry whitening gel to contact the teeth for an extended period of time. That is their sole function. Their intent never was to protect the teeth from the effects of biting forces or grinding. As a result, they are not very protective. They provide little protection from forces. They may also cause discomfort for the jaw muscles or for the jaw joint. Some patients want to use these in lieu of obtaining a night guard. This would be a sizable compromise. We do not recommend using whitening trays as night guards at all.
Some patients may also have orthodontic retainer trays. These were provided by their orthodontist. These trays tend to be thinner but less flexible than the whitening trays. When the orthodontic trays are like this, they provide little protection from forces as well. They carry the same risks as the whitening trays. In other instances, patients may have something like an Invisalign tray that is being used as a retainer. In these cases, the material is thicker and rigid. However, it too is of uniform thickness. Using an Invisalign tray as a night guard provides more protection than whitening trays and other orthodontic retainer trays. However, they do not provide relief for the jaw muscles nor do they decrease stress within the jaw joint. This too is a compromise to having a night guard made. We do not recommend using any kind of orthodontic retainer tray as a night guard.
Our night guards are custom made. They function similarly to special orthotic inserts some people may need inside their shoes to assist them with back or feet issues. With our night guards, we design them to maximally protect the teeth, we design them to allow the jaw muscles to relax more while sleeping, and we design them to minimize pressure on the jaw joint. With all these advantages of our night guards, we offer them at a great value compared to what patients pay for a very similar appliance when they are having their TMJ Dysfunction treated.
If you are interested in more information on grinding or bruxism, we invite you to follow this link. If you are interested in obtaining more information on our night guards, we invite you to contact us at (972) 250-2580. If you are interested in more information on my practice, please follow this link. We thank you for your interest in my custom, personally-published website.