A night guard or an occlusal splint is an acrylic oral appliance prescribed by your dentist to be worn for a specific reason(s). There are many types of guards that exist with each type serving a specific purpose.
It is important to distinguish between sport guards and occlusal guards. Sport guards are soft, flexible rubber-like appliances that are designed to help protect your teeth from injury incurred during a sporting event. Occlusal guards are worn to help protect teeth and jaw joints from trauma due to some kind of oral habit or dysfunction i.e.) grinding, clenching, poor bite, TMD (temporo-mandibular disease/dysfunction) etc.
Signs you may need an occlusal guard:
- Clicking jaw joints
- Pain/discomfort in jaw joints
- Tired chewing muscles
- Clenching/grinding habits
- Sensitive teeth
- Many porcelain restorations
What's involved in getting a guard?
The process is quite simple and quick. It involves two appointments, both requiring no freezing! The first visit is to take impressions (mold) of your teeth; the second to insert and adjust the guard to ensure it is comfortable. The two appointments are usually 30 minutes long and between 1-2 weeks apart. During this time a dental lab custom fabricates the guard for a very precise fit.
There are other reasons that an occlusal guard may be recommended. Dr. Seidlitz can diagnose whether you could benefit from a guard and explain the pros and cons for your particular situation.