Occlusal Guard Appliances
About Night Guards
Occlusal guards (sometimes called bite guards, bite splints or night guards) are removable dental appliances that are carefully formed and molded to fit the upper or lower arches of teeth. They are typically made of a heat-cured, clear acrylic resin that is often of a soft and flexible nature designed to be “forgiving or shock absorbing” when a patient’s teeth come together. Occlusal guards can also be fabricated out of a clear, more rigid acrylic when needed based on patient symptoms.
Who needs a Night Guard?
Patients prone to nocturnal (nighttime) clenching and grinding habits of the teeth frequently benefit from occlusal guards. They are used to protect teeth from chipping, cracking, or developing fractures and causing excessive wear to the chewing surfaces. Occlusal guards also help to relieve facial muscle and joint pain that often may be present after “night grinding”.
Night Guards and TMJ Treatment
Additionally, occlusal guards may be incorporated as a phase of TMJ disorder treatment and sometimes are used for “protective reasons” after cosmetic dentistry restorations are placed or full mouth reconstruction procedures are completed.