Do you wake up in the morning with a headache, jaw, and neck ache or a mild toothache? These could be signs that you are a candidate for an occlusal nightguard. Many sufferers of clenching and grinding (called bruxism) have no idea because it occurs primarily during sleep. Although you may not be able to see the damage bruxism is doing to your teeth, a quick visit to a dentist can confirm this. Other indications are when teeth look worn down, giving a flat appearance. In extensive cases, may may even expose the dentin which can cause sensitivity.
Bruxism is associated with stress and anxiety and is heightened during one of your REM cycles while you are asleep. It is also associated with misaligned or missing teeth and also an abnormal bite.
The purpose of an occlusal nightguard is to protectteeth from further destruction such as fracture of the teeth and preventing the creation of more microfractures in the teeth that is caused by bruxism.
It is also useful i protecting against damage done to the surface of the teeth such as scratching and chipping, and also helps the jaw muscles to relax which lessens the instances of clenching or grinding.
The occlusal guard is usually work overnight when clenching and grinding are at their peak.
There are different types of occlusal nightguards. Some are worn on the top, some on the bottom, some cover all your teeth and some just cover the front teeth. And there are ones that you boil and custom fit to your mouth. These guards are considered one-size-fits-all. They are made of low quality material, do not last that long and can cause more destruction to the alignment of your teeth, especially the jaws.
The occlusal nightguard made in our office is made with a high-quality clear acrylic resin that is custom-fitted to your teeth and bite. We make sure that the way your teeth and jaw movements go from left to right, forward and backward is reflected in your nightguard. Thus, custom fit! This is the main difference from the OTC ones.
HOW LONG DOES AN OCCLUSAL GUARD LAST?
It all depends on the severity of your bruxism. I like to compare this to wheels on a car. They do wear down depending on how much you drive and your you drive. In cases of severe bruxism, the occlusal nightguard may need to be replaced every six months to a year. In other cases, it can last five years. It is advisable to wear your nightguard every night to maintain proper fit. Your teeth can shift out of place if you do not wear it nightly. This will lead to the occlusal nightguard not fitting properly.