What is an occlusal grinding guard?
An occlusal guard is a general term for any device designed to protect your teeth, facial muscles, or jaw joint from wear and tear. The occlusal grinding guard device is apart of the many preventative dentistry services we offer.
Why would I want an occlusal guard?
The most common reason is nighttime bruxing, also known as tooth grinding. The guard acts as a barrier to protect your teeth and dental work from the strong forces generated subconsciously when you are asleep.
It may also be indicated for patients with TMJ and TMD problems or muscle spasms of the facial muscles. The device not only protects the teeth but takes pressure off of the facial muscles and jaw joint, helping to alleviate facial pain and joint pain.
The device ensures that your teeth and your dental work last a very long time and don’t get unnecessarily destroyed by your own grinding forces while you sleep. They can also be designed to relieve pressure on your facial muscles and TMJ, too!
How does it work?
We first make an impression of your teeth to ensure a comfortable fit of the occlusal guard. A lab in California takes our models and uses them to reproduce your bite on a device called an articulator, and then the night guard is fabricated on those models to match your specific bite and the shape and contour of your teeth. Every night guard is customized to you!
After the guard is created, we make sure it fits comfortably and teach you how to clean and care for the device at your appointment.
Your dentist will give you more details about your particular situation, but typically the device is worn at night and removed and cleaned in the morning.
Not all occlusal guards are created equal. Here at NorthStar Dental, we send your impressions to a lab to build a guard customized to your mouth, your teeth, and your bite. Maximum comfort combined with maximum effectiveness is critical.
If you are a smoker, have a history of high alcohol use, stress, clenching your teeth, acid reflux, or simply notice your facial muscles tensing during the day, a nightguard is probably a good idea.
Nightguards are considered a preventative treatment, not a last resort, as the goal is always to protect the teeth and fillings you currently have before you grind and wear on them any more. Ready for the next steps? Reach out today to schedule an appointment and get fitted for you custom occlusal grinding guard.