Occlusal Guard – What Is It And When Should I Wear One?

Occlusal Guard – What Is It And When Should I Wear One?

Maintaining good oral health is essential to your overall well-being, and a critical tool in doing so is an occlusal guard. An occlusal guard is a custom-made mouthguard that helps protect the teeth from grinding or clenching, which can cause wear and tear, pain, and further damage if left untreated. It can also help reduce headaches and jaw muscle tension that are all too common for those who suffer from bruxism, or chronic teeth grinding.

What Is An Occlusal Guard?

An occlusal guard is a horseshoe-shaped piece of plastic worn over the teeth to protect them against damage caused by clenching or grinding. It creates a physical barrier between your upper and lower teeth so that you bite against the plastic rather than wear down your teeth. Most people are unaware that they grind (also called bruxism) or clench their teeth, as it usually happens when sleeping. Often, a person’s partner notices that they are grinding their teeth. People tend to go through phases of grinding their teeth, such as during times of stress. During these times, you may need to wear an occlusal night guard to prevent permanent damage to your teeth.

When Should I Wear My Occlusal Guard?

An occlusal guard, also known as a night guard, is a dental device worn over the teeth to protect them from grinding and clenching during sleep. It is essential to wear your occlusal guard every night before you go to bed to prevent damage to your teeth.

When wearing an occlusal guard, it’s best to establish a consistent routine. For example, if you brush your teeth at 8 pm each night, make sure you put on your occlusal guard right after brushing. This way, it will become part of your nightly routine, and you won’t forget to wear it. Additionally, try not to eat or drink anything after putting on the guard since this can cause it to become loose or uncomfortable.

Make sure you are regularly clean and replace your occlusal guard as needed.

What Is An Occlusal Guard Made Of?

An occlusal guard is made of clear acrylic, and depending on what your dentist recommends, it may be either soft or hard acrylic. As it is only made of plastic, your occlusal guard may become cloudy and discolored over time, but this does not affect the functionality of the night guard. Occlusal guards can be made for either the upper or lower teeth.

How Long Does An Occlusal Guard Last?

How long your night guard will last depends on the severity of your teeth grinding. While severe grinders may need to replace their occlusal guard every year, others may not need to replace theirs for many years.

If the guard still fits your teeth, it will not need replacing until you have worn through the acrylic, making the guard no longer effective. An occlusal guard forces your upper and lower teeth apart to prevent them from fraying. Sometimes if you haven’t worn your night guard for a while, your teeth may shift a little, and the occlusal guard may no longer fit. If this happens, take the occlusal guard to your dentist for advice.

Taking Care Of Your Occlusal Guard

When wearing your occlusal guard, please do not eat or drink anything other than water, as this may discolor it. After removing your occlusal guard in the morning, brush it with your toothbrush, and rinse it with cold water. It is best not to use toothpaste to clean it as toothpaste is abrasive and may scratch the surface of the occlusal guard and make it appear cloudy. Also, never rinse your occlusal guard with hot water, as this can distort the shape and cause it to no longer fit.

Custom-Made Occlusal Guard Price

The occlusal guard cost will vary greatly from dentist to dentist. It can be an extremely worthwhile investment in the long run. It may prevent you from needing more expensive dental work in the future caused by grinding, such as fillings or crowns to rebuild the teeth. You can purchase night guards from a chemist, but they will not fit as well as a custom-made one from your dentist and may fall out at night. Occlusal Night guards made by your dentist are also much more comfortable to wear as they are less bulky.


Occlusal guards are an effective tool to protect your teeth from the detrimental effects of bruxism. They are a comfortable and easy solution that can help reduce symptoms and discomfort and provide full coverage for your teeth when needed. Not only can occlusal guards help prevent tooth loss, but they may also be able to improve your overall oral health.

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