Katie Moynihan BS RDH
Which Occlusal Guard is Right for You ?
Do you grind your teeth when you sleep? Ever noticed pain in your jaw? Bruxism is the term used when a person is grinding or clenching their teeth. Often times, bruxism occurs unconsciously during the day or most often at night. Whether you know you do it or not, there are certain dental signs we look for as oral health professionals in order to properly diagnose the right mouthguard for you.
Occlusal wear on the teeth can lead to gum recession, fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. An occlusal guard is custom made to be worn over the biting surfaces of either the upper or lower arch of teeth, and is easily inserted and removed by the patient. It is made out of an acrylic strong enough to minimize the abrasive action of excessive tooth forces. They should be worn on a long-term basis to help to stabilize the occlusion as well as prevent damage to teeth and to the temporomandibular joint.
Another bruxism appliance is called an NTI-tts device. Unlike the occlusal guard, the NTI device only covers part of your mouth, clipping over either the top or bottom front teeth. This small, custom fitted plastic device forms a barrier between your top and bottom teeth, preventing you from biting down completely. You might consider an NTI device if a conventional occlusal guard has not worked for you, you suffer from migraines and headaches, or experience pain associated with your TMJ. The goal of the NTI is to prevent the grinding and touching of the rear molars by limiting the contraction of the temporalis muscle.
Although there is no single cure for bruxism, these devices are available to help reduce symptoms associated with teeth grinding and clenching. If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, we would be happy to talk to you about it and help you determine which bruxism device is right for you.
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