Nightguards & Oral Appliances
Oral appliances have various names: bite plates, night guards, splints, and orthotics, to name a few. They all refer to the same thing. A bite plate is made of acrylic, which covers either, the upper or lower teeth. It snaps over the teeth and is easily removed for cleaning. It helps to relax the jaw muscles; it reduces pressure on the jaw joint, and protects the natural teeth from being worn down. Not all bite plates are designed the same way. Bite plates can be made from hard or soft material, they can cover the upper or lower teeth, they can cover all of the teeth or just some of the teeth and they can be worn part of the day or all of the time. If the wrong type is used it can alter the bite. If designed correctly it should alleviate the pain and not cause any bite change.
Patients commonly ask, “How long will I need to wear the bite plate?” The answer is different for each patient. It depends on many factors, which include what is the diagnosis, is the problem acute or chronic and are clenching and grinding habits present. Some people need it for a short period of time and others need to wear it indefinitely usually at night.