An occlusal guard is made out of hard plastic that may fit on the upper teeth or lower teeth. It could have different shapes which have different purposes depending on what is needed.
There are two general purposes of occlusal guards.
First, it can be used as a diagnostic tool to determine the extent of a TMD problem. The occlusal guard is designed to reduce the stress on the jaw joints and help reduce muscle tension. This allows Dr. Spring to determine where the teeth touch when the joints are in their normal position. From this information, a treatment plan can be developed that is apprppriate for you.
Second, occlusal guards can be used as protection for the teeth, veneers and/or crowns at night from grinding and clenching (bruxism).