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The occlusal guard resembles the shape of a horseshoe, is made of plastic and is worn over the teeth to help protect them from damage done if you clench or grind your teeth. The guard creates a physical barrier between your lower and upper teeth. This way you bite against the plastic rather than wearing down your teeth. Many people are unaware that they clench or grind their teeth, also known as bruxism, which occurs typically at night during sleep. Most people will go through phases of teeth grinding and usually during times of stress. Your dentist will most likely recommend the occlusal guard be worn at night only, unless however you are a severe grinder it may be suggested to wear it during the day. If you already aware that you grind during stressful times you may only need to wear it for times around your stressful events.
What Is It Made Of And How Long Will It Last?
Typically an occlusal guard is made of a hard, clear acrylic. Sometimes your dentist may recommend a soft based acrylic depending on each person’s needs. Overtime your occlusal guard may become discolored however this does not affect the functionality of it. Occlusal guards can be made for the upper or lower teeth. Your dentist will let you know which one is needed for your situation. Your occlusal guard’s longevity will be based on the severity of your grinding. If you are a severe grinder you may need to replace your occlusal guard more often, while others may only need to replace theirs after many years.
Care of Your Guard
While wearing your guard do not drink or eat anything other than water for this may discolor the guard. Once you have removed your guard in the morning time, brush it with your toothbrush and rinse it with cold water. Do not use toothpaste while cleaning it because the pasteit has abrasives in it that may scratch the surfaces. Be sure to never rinse the guard with hot water it may cause the occlusal guard to distort the shape.
Cost of Custom Made Occlusal Guards
The price of a custom made occlusal guard will vary from dentist to dentist. Overall the investment is definitely worthwhile for it may prevent you from needing more costly dental work in the long run. Custom made night guards are much more comfortable as they are made less bulky and are specifically created to fit your smile. If you are clenching or grinding at any point throughout your day or night, talk to your dentist to see what options are available for your specific needs.
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