Occlusal guards are removable mouth guards designed to protect the teeth from damage by grinding or clenching, also known as bruxism. Bruxism is a very common condition among adults. The most common causes are stress, age, natural demeanor, medications, and genetics. Bruxism can happen while you’re asleep as well as awake and happens subconsciously.
Tooth damage and breakage can be a result of bruxism in addition to jaw damage and other facial pain. Occlusal guards limit the amount of damage done by the habit and have even proven to help people stop grinding and clenching all together.
How Do Occlusal Guards Work?
The way occlusal guards work is quite simple. They add an extra cushion between the top and bottom layer of teeth. They help the jaw muscles to relax and reduce inflammation in the gums and jaw. The main purpose of these guards is to prevent further tooth and jaw damage from being done. Gum recession is also another issue that can be caused by bruxism and is where the gums pull back or wear away from the rest of the tooth. In advanced cases of gum recession, the tooth’s root may be exposed allowing bacteria to accumulate, increasing the risk for infection. While the guards cannot cure bruxism, they can significantly reduce symptoms and prevent further damage from being caused.
Ways to Know if You Need an Occlusal Guard
Bruxism can present itself in many different ways and may not be obvious to many patients. Some common indicators of bruxism you may notice yourself include: consistent fatigue, frequent headaches and toothaches, sore jaw and sore facial muscles, gum pain, and loose teeth throughout your mouth. In addition to these possible symptoms, your dentist will also be able to see your teeth worn down and flatter than they should be. If you notice any of these symptoms you should consider an occlusal guard to protect your teeth and help them remain healthier for longer.
A guard should also be considered if your dentist at Bismarck Advanced Dental and Implants recommends one. We only recommend treatment options that we know will help. We are not in the business of wasting your time or money and assure you that our occlusal guards will help if you clench or grind your teeth.
Are There Different Kinds of Occlusal Guards?
There are different types of occlusal guards and deciding which one is best for you is often decided by the dentist and depends on how bad your bruxism is. Soft occlusal guards are sufficient for light to moderate grinders and are much more comfortable to wear. However they are not very durable and do not last as long as hard guards do.
Hard guards are beneficial for patients with moderate to severe bruxism and last longer since they are less pliable. Hybrid guards are a mix between soft and hard. The soft portion is located on the inner portion of the guard that is against the teeth, and the hard portion is on the outside where the grinding occurs. These guards are very durable and comfortable for patients suffering from bruxism.
Occlusal guards can be worn during the day and the night. Most patients who have mild to moderate cases wear them only during the night while patients who have severe cases of grinding may wear their guards during the day as well as the night. There are no known complications or problems with wearing an occlusal guard during the day and night except the fact that they wear down faster because they’re used more.
Schedule your appointment with Bismarck Advanced Dental and Implants today to receive your very own occlusal guard and begin treating your bruxism condition.