What is an Occlusal Guard?
Occlusal guards (also called night guards, splints and bruxing appliances) are made of rigid or semi-rigid materials like laboratory-processed acrylic. They are generally made to be worn over the biting surfaces of either the upper or lower teeth, and are easily inserted and removed by the patient.
Occlusal guards accomplish three main functions:
• Evenly distribute bite forces to protect the teeth from stresses that can crack or wear them abnormally
• Protect the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) from excessive bite stress that can produce pain, damage to the jaw joint components, and dysfunction
• Reduce the heavy forces generated by the jaw-closing muscles.
Occlusal guards can prevent damage to teeth and dental restorations, saving the time, expense and potential discomfort of fixing problems that result from clenching the jaw muscles and grinding the teeth (bruxism). They can also be used to treat patients with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction and pain (TMD); and people suffering from jaw/facial muscle discomfort and fatigue (myalgia). It is important to understand how occlusal guards work, to decide whether you are a patient who might benefit from the use of an occlusal guard.
If you have any questions or if you are suffering from any of these symptoms…give us a call!!