An occlusal guard is a general term for any device designed to protect your teeth, facial muscles, or jaw joint from wear and tear.
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 ensure 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. After the guard is created, we make sure it fits comfortably and teach you how to clean and care for the device. 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. More information: 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.