The occlusal guard appliance is designed to protect teeth or dental restorations from excessive biting forces that can occur at nighttime such as tooth grinding or clenching. The appliance can also be used to relax jaw muscles and decrease muscle activity decreasing TMJ or jaw muscle tenderness.
The appliance has one path of insertion - gently place it seating it left to right. When it is fully seated, the bite should feel even.
For an upper occlusal guard, place your index fingers on the outside rim of the appliance and gently remove it left/right. For a lower occlusal guard,, place your thumbs on the outside rim of the appliance and gently remove.
Always brush the appliance with a soft bristle toothbrush using nonabrasive toothpaste or soft soap after wearing. The appliance will get buildup and stain like your teeth. However, your everyday toothpaste may be too abrasive for the occlusal guard acrylic. There are some commercial cleaners that we can recommend for you to remove buildup and stain.
After cleaning the appliance, use the storage case that we provided. The appliance can be stored dry or wrapped in a damp paper towel. Do not store in mouthwash, bleach, or alcohol-based products.
How long will it last?
This is variable depending on the patient. A patient that is an excessive grinder will wear the acrylic over time which shows us that it is taking the load off of the teeth. For more moderate tooth grinders, it is not uncommon for the guard to last 5-10 years. If the guard is not worn for several days/weeks, it may not go to place - small changes or shifting in the bite will affect the fit of the guard.
What to expect
For the first couple days, try to wear the guard during the day for a few hours to get comfortable with having it in your mouth - excess saliva at this time is common. Most patients get very comfortable wearing the appliance at night time very quickly. Please bring the appliance with you at each of your appointments as we can clean the guard and also assess the fit and wear of the appliance. Please give the office a call if you have difficulty placing, removing, or wearing the appliance.