What is an Occlusal Guard/Night Guard?
An Occlusal Guard (Night Guard) is a horseshoe shaped piece of plastic which is worn over the teeth to protect them against damage caused by teeth clenching and grinding. It works by creating a physical barrier between your upper and lower teeth so that you bite against the plastic rather than wearing down your teeth. Most people are unaware that they grind (also called bruxism) or clench their teeth as it usually happens when they are sleeping. It is often a person’s partner, or dentist, who first notices that they are grinding their teeth. People tend to go through phases of grinding their teeth, such as during times of stress. It is during these times that you may need to wear a night guard to prevent doing permanent damage to your teeth.
When should I wear my Occlusal Guard?
Occlusal Guards are usually worn at night (Hence they are usually referred to as Night Guards) when people are not able to stop themselves from grinding or clenching their teeth. If you are a severe grinder, your dentist may also recommend that you wear it during the day, but this is not usually required. In our society, stress is always present, to the point where we aren’t even aware that we are under stress, therefore it is recommended to wear nightly.
What is an Occlusal Guard made of?
An Occlusal Guard is made of clear hard acrylic. Your Occlusal Guard may become cloudy and discolor over time, but this does not affect functionality of the guard. Occlusal Guards can be made for either the upper or lower teeth, but usually for the upper teeth as they are more comfortable.