Occlusal guards are made of rigid or semi-rigid materials like laboratory-processed acrylic. They are generally made to be worn over the biting surfaces of either the upper or lower teeth, and are easily inserted and removed by the patient.
Occlusal guards accomplish three main functions:
- Evenly distribute bite forces to protect the teeth from stresses that can crack or wear them abnormally
- Protect the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) from excessive bite stress that can produce pain and dysfunction
- Reduce the heavy forces generated by the jaw-closing muscles.
Occlusal guards can prevent the destruction of teeth and dental restorations in patients who truly need them, saving the time, expense and potential discomfort of fixing problems that result from clenching the jaw muscles and grinding the teeth. They can also be used to treat patients with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction and pain, and people suffering from jaw/facial muscle discomfort and fatigue. It is important to understand whether you are a patient who might benefit from the use of an occlusal guard.
Use a mouthguard during any activity that could result in a blow to the face or mouth. A properly fitted mouthguard can help prevent broken teeth and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw. It will stay in place while you are wearing it, making it easy for you to talk and breathe.
There are three types of mouth protectors:
Stock mouth protectors are inexpensive and come pre-formed, and ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well. They can be bulky and can make breathing and talking difficult.
- Boil and bite
Boil and bite mouth protectors also can be bought at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. They should be softened in water, then inserted and allowed to adapt to the shape of your mouth. If you don’t follow the directions carefully, you can wind up with a poor-fitting mouth protector.
Custom-fitted mouth protectors are made by your dentist for you personally. They are more expensive than the other versions, but because they are customized, they can offer a better fit than anything you can buy off the shelf.
We can make a custom mouthguard specifically for you. This will fit well and offer the best protection for your smile.