An occlusal guard is a dental instrument that protects the teeth from damage done primarily during sleep. Sometimes referred to as an occlusal splint or night guard it may cover one or both rows of teeth. The occlusal guard is fitted to each patient so that the teeth fit perfectly to limit the grinding and clenching during the night.
The purpose of an occlusal guard is to protect teeth against chipping, wearing down and cracking. This appliance also protects restorations from fracturing under the forces of grinding or clenching. It helps the jaw relax, and actually teaches the jaw to remain in a relaxed position lessening the damaging effects clenching or grinding of the teeth.
How it's done.
A simple impression is taken and the occlusal guard is made with a clear acrylic resin that is then later placed in the mouth to ensure a good fit. The patient then wears the occlusal guar every night.
You might need an occlusal guard when you:
- Wake up in the morning with a sore jaw or headache.
- There are visible wear facets on the biting surfaces of the teeth.
- Have canine teeth that have flat verses the natural pointed feature.
Have chipped teeth.
Find yourself clenching during the day due to stress.