Bite guards come in many shapes and sizes and are known by many different names – night guards, occlusal splints, bruxism splints – these appliances serve many different purposes and can be an essential component of keeping your teeth for a lifetime.
At McKnight Signature Dental we recognize the circumstances that warrant the use of a bite guard and have the skills to design and help maintain that appliance properly for our clients. It is a common reason that patients are referred to our care as we have many years of experience and expertise in this area.
How Do I Know if I Need a Bite Guard?
There are many situations in which a bite guard can be helpful:
- Nighttime clenching or grinding
- Head or neck pain in the morning from muscle tension
- Loose teeth from poor bone support
If a patient suffers from any of these conditions on a regular basis, a guard may be indicated.
The Difference between Dental Office Bite Guards and Store-Bought Versions
One of the most important goals of a nighttime appliance is to help support the jaws and teeth and to quiet down any muscle activity caused by interferences in the way teeth come together. It is extremely important that a bite guard is designed properly and balanced by a dental professional to create the perfect surface for the teeth to rest on while in use.
“Boil-and-bite” appliances purchased over-the-counter are much less expensive but tend to be rubbery and bulky, promoting more nighttime muscle activity. In our office, we take a digital scan of the teeth and the way that they fit together so that our lab can build the appliance that best suits the patient’s mouth.
We also spend time adjusting that appliance in our patient’s mouth so that we are confident that both teeth and jaws are in the perfect position for muscle healing and support.
Does a Bite Guard Help with TMD?
If you have pain in your jaw when opening or closing, get “stuck” occasionally when opening really wide, or hear clicking or popping while chewing, you may suffer from Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMD.) The cause of this disease varies but is most commonly from clenching/grinding habits or poorly aligned teeth causing interferences during jaw movements. Regardless of the cause, an occlusal guard can often help protect and support the structures in the mouth helping to relieve discomfort.
The first step to discovering whether a guard is a good solution for you is a thorough evaluation by Drs. McKnight and Konz. Please call our office to set up an appointment to find out what treatment is best for you.