Dr. Laura K. Geiger, DDS of Southeast Family Dental in Indianapolis, Indiana talks about occlusal guards or bite guards and why you may want or need one. Bite guards can help with popping, clicking or other pain you may be experiencing in your jaw. Dr. Geiger explains how bite guards work, when you wear them and what steps you should take if you think you may need one.

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Hi my name is Dr. Laura Geiger from Southeast Family Dental and today I’m going to talk about something we get a lot of questions about which are occlusal guards or bite guards.

If you’ve ever had pain in your jaw or you’ve ever been told that you grind your teeth this is something we use a lot. A lot of times they’re used for clenching and grinding. Again if a dentist has told you that you do that a lot if protects the teeth from that.

You wear it at night. It’s something that a lot of, when we make them here, we’ll take an impression of your mouth. It fits directly to your teeth. It’s specific for you and it’s something that you wear every night. It protects the teeth from that clenching and grinding so that you can’t do that physical action. You’ll grind the guard rather than the teeth.

You could also use it a lot of times for anyone that has popping or a pain in the jaw. What it does is it sets that lower jaw forward enough that it relaxes the muscle tension there and it lets that relax at night. Again, it is something worn overnight.

The last reason we use the bit guards a lot is for protecting. If someone’s had a lot of restorations, a lot of fillings, crowns, anything done on their front teeth, even sometimes on back teeth, if you just have a lot throughout your mouth, is another reason that we would do them.

If you’ve been told that you clench and grind and someone’s recommended a bite guard for you, a lot of times you can also try kind of an over the counter one and see how it does. You can use one, it’s called a boil and bite. You can get them at any kind of drug store and you put it in boiling water, let it warm up a little bit and then form it to your teeth. That’s a good way to test and see too if that’s going to help with some of that popping, clicking. But I do recommend talking to your dentist too. If you plan on doing it, talk to your dentist. Find out if that’s a good way to start and that would be a good way to go. Again, this is Laura Geiger from Southeast Family Dental. Remember we can make you smile!