A bite guard is also known as a stress guard, teeth guard, dental guard or night guard.
It is a dental appliance that is provided by the dentist to protect your teeth from excessive grinding or clenching.
As the grinding/clenching happens mostly during sleep, the bite guard is often worn during the night. See our topic Grinding.
Your dentist takes an impression of your top and bottom teeth and sends it to a dental technician.The bite guard is then made from acrylic that is shaped to fit your teeth. The dentist then makes sure the bite guard is tight enough on your teeth without being uncomfortable and simple maintenance instructions are given.Wearing the bite guard can feel uncomfortable for the first few days.
In extreme cases of bruxism it is advised to wear the bite guard even during the daytime when possible.
A dentist may prescribe thinner bite guards made of a more rubbery material. These will do if you suffer from mild bruxism during stressful events in life such as during exams.
In a child, the jawbone is constantly growing. Wearing an acrylic bite guard will stop the jawbone from growing and shaping.
Luckily children grow out of the grinding condition as they lose their baby teeth and get the new permanent ones.
If the grinding is causing your child discomfort, consult your dentist for the best advice as treatment may vary depending on the situation.