At Virginia Biological Dentistry, Glen Allen, VA area patients have a wide variety of services to choose from. In addition to providing general, cosmetic, and restorative care for new and existing patients, Dr. Olivia Hart also offers services for patients who have specific dental needs. Patients who have conditions such as temporomandibular joint disorder or even bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding) can learn more about the use of occlusal guards and how they can help with the symptoms and problems associated with these concerns.
Dr. Olivia Hart describes an occlusal guard as a type of splint that can be used to address teeth clenching and grinding. Also known as a splint, these are utilized to protect the teeth from damage caused by these conditions. It is believed that anywhere from 10 to 15% of adult Americans deal with frequent clenching and grinding of the teeth. These patients need to protect their smiles from damage and do so with the use of occlusal guards.
Occlusal guards are special mouthguards that are worn at night. They are often made of a high-quality dental plastic material that can withstand clenching and grinding forces that impact the smile. Patients who have these conditions will often experience unwanted wear and tear of the natural tooth enamel and even damage to dental restorations such as crowns, bridges, and veneers. With the use of an occlusal guard or splint, patients can also reduce the pain of the muscles that are often strained from clenching and grinding forces. These often result in the development of chronic headaches and migraines, which are significantly reduced and sometimes eliminated with occlusal guard wearing.
The primary purpose of wearing an occlusal guard is to prevent tooth damage and place the mandible to the right position. It can prevent wear on the surfaces of the teeth, reduce the risk of damage to dental restorations, and can relax the jaws and reduce headaches and pain.
First and foremost, patients are evaluated by Dr. Olivia Hart to determine if they require a special splint to protect their smile. During the first visit, a mold or “impression” is made of the patient’s entire mouth. Dr. Hart will also use a special technique to obtain the bite registration. These include the teeth on the top and bottom arch. The mold is then sent off to a dental laboratory where the occlusal guard is custom-made to fit the patient’s mouth. This can take a week or two to complete. Once the final occlusal guard is mailed back to the dental office, patients return to Virginia Biological Dentistry to check the fit and function of the guard and explain to the patient how to properly use and care for their new mouthguard.
We encourage patients to ask about the materials used to create their mouthpiece and learn about the proper way to care for it. This will ensure that the occlusal guard will protect the smile for many years to come before a replacement needs to be made.
If you reside in the area of Glen Allen, VA and are interested in learning more about the benefits of using occlusal guards to reduce damage and discomfort caused by bruxism, we invite you to request a consultation with our team. At Virginia Biological Dentistry, located at 10446 Ridgefield Parkway, we are committed to providing the best in general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry. Call (804) 381-6238 today and get started protecting your smile!