We usually recommend an occlusal guard when we see evidence of wear in your mouth like multiple broken fillings, flattened cusps, short clinical crowns or in some cases from your complaint of TMJ soreness or pain. Clenching, which involves excessive pressure while biting down for a long time or grinding when your jaw moves from side to side, can cause extensive damage and fracture to your teeth and restorations. The stress from the overactive muscles can cause chronic pain from TMJ issues.
We fabricate a custom guard to help prevent further wear. It involves creating molds of your teeth, which we send to the lab. It is like wearing a helmet when you ride a bike. Initially, there is an adjustment period, but it is for your safety and protection. A mouth guard is not a cure for grinding but is to prevent damage since most of the grinding happens at night when you have no control or awareness.
In recent years, more and more over the counter guards have come onto the market. But they are not customized for your teeth and do not have the features that we put in for your teeth protection. Something is better than nothing, but we recommend investing in a good quality lab processed guard to provide the maximum protection. Please also understand that, depending on the severity of your habit, we might need to replace the mouth guard. But is better that the wear is on your guard than your teeth!
Please call us at our San Ramon office so we can check to see if you there are any signs of wear that would necessitate an occlusal guard.