Occlusal, or “bite” guards have been used for decades to help relieve patients of pain around the jaw joints and cheek and neck muscles. Grinding and clenching is a common problem for many patients. Most of the damage is occurring at night when we are sleeping and unaware. Occlusal guards are acrylic devices worn at night over the upper teeth. These will allow the lower teeth to glide over the smooth surfaces of the guard and provide relief and stress distribution of the teeth, muscles, and joints.
Lower guards are sometimes worn when patients require protection during the day. The lower guards are easier to wear and function normally. However, their effectiveness in stress distribution does not compare to the upper “night guard” variety.
The “golden rule” is that our teeth should not be touching during the day other than when chewing and swallowing. “Lips together, teeth apart” is the normal rest position of our jaws.