NIGHT GUARDS (BITE GUARDS)
The technical name for night guards are ‘occlusal’ guards. This is a dental term that refers to the surfaces of your teeth. A night guard is a removable dental appliance that fits over your upper or lower teeth which is made of acrylic. An night guard is used to help prevent tooth damage caused by teeth grinding and/or jaw clenching (also known as bruxism) and relieves symptoms of jaw and TMJ pain. Night guards can also help head and neck muscle pain, tooth sensitivity, and headaches caused by bruxism.
Reasons for Wearing a Night Guard
- You’re Showing Signs of Clenching or Grinding Your Teeth: Persistent jaw clenching or teeth grinding can wear down the enamel of your teeth. This can make them more sensitive and may cause them to break over time. Check for signs of this behavior such as a chipped tooth that you can cannot recall happening during waking hours, your front teeth are appearing shorter over time, you notice small cracks in your teeth, or your molars appear to be flattening. These are just a few tell-tale signs that you’re clenching or grinding your teeth.
- You’re Experiencing Jaw or TMJ Pain: The temporomandibular joint, commonly referred to as the TMJ, is located at the base of the skull. If your jaw or facial muscles in the TMJ area are sore, a bite guard can help by raising the bite and repositioning the jaw to a more comfortable position that helps relieve pain and discomfort. Not only can a bite guard reduce pain and tension in your jaw muscles, but it can also reduce earaches, headaches and facial pain associated with TMJ pain.
Will a Bite Guard Stop the Behavior?
Wearing an occlusal/bite guard will not prevent you from grinding your teeth or clenching your jaws while you sleep, but it will act as a cushion to help protect your teeth from wear and damage and relieve the pain and tension in your jaw muscles.
How do I Obtain a Night Guard?
If Dr. Park and or one of his team members has determined that a night guard would be beneficial for you, an appointment will be set up, which will be the first of two visits.
- During your first visit, molds are then created of your teeth and either sent to a lab where a custom bite guard with be fabricated, or your mold will be created right at Dr. Park’s Irondequoit Family Dentistry office (read on for our COMING SOON announcement at the bottom of this page).
- When your bite guard is ready, you will come in for your second appointment. We will test your guard will be to while in your mouth to determine if any adjustments are needed. Our goal is to ensure that your custom-made bite guard’s fit and function are ideal.
Dr. Park is pleased to announce that his practice has a new 3D printer, where your bite guard will be able to be fabricated right at his practice. Stay tuned for an announcement about when this service will be fully operational and available to his patients.