Occlusal Guards / Night Guards
An occlusal guard is a removable appliance used to protect your teeth from wear, grinding (bruxism), and clenching. It fits on either your upper maxillary teeth or lower mandibular teeth. Unlike store-bought ready-made or “boil and bite” occlusal guards, a professionally-made occlusal guard will reposition your jaw, fit your teeth securely, and be precisely adjusted to the way your teeth fit together to offer the most effective protection. An improperly fitting over-the-counter occlusal guard can actually cause damage to your joint and worsen pain. If you have tension or migraine headaches, morning headaches, tooth soreness, or jaw muscle soreness, an occlusal guard may provide relief. Daytime or nighttime clenching and grinding can cause muscle headaches, cracked teeth, and extensive wear damage. Wearing an occlusal guard, also known as a night guard if worn at night, during these times of stress reduces the forces applied to your teeth and dissipates the forces in the occlusal guard. This preventive strategy protects against serious problems that can be caused by long-time clenching and grinding, including cracked teeth and severe wearing away of natural tooth structure.
The process of getting an occlusal guard usually requires two appointments. At the first appointment, impressions of the teeth are taken to create models. A dental laboratory uses the models of the teeth to create the occlusal guard. The occlusal guard is adjusted at the second appointment. Instructions for its use and care are also provided. At follow up examination and dental cleaning appointments, we ask that you bring your occlusal guard to be checked for fit and to be cleaned.