So your dentist sat chairside, examined your teeth, and then broke the news: You need a costly dental appliance to protect your teeth and jaw from damage. As you removed your paper bib, you may have wondered if oral orthotics and occlusal guards have any benefits and what is exactly a flat plane occlusal guard.
Sometimes when patients have bruxism or temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ), dentists recommend a flat plane occlusal guard to provide symptom relief. In some cases, the guard can even correct the problem. As you make your decision, here’s some information about occlusal guards.
Mouth Guard With Flat Plane
A flat plane occlusal guard can be an effective treatment for both TMJ and bruxism. A night guard is molded to fit either your upper or lower teeth, and the occlusal surface (where the opposing teeth meet the night guard) can be made a few different ways.
Over-the-counter night guards don’t take into account the occlusal surface, resulting in a less comfortable fit as the guard makes uneven contact with the opposing teeth. In custom-fit night guards, the occlusal plane is typically molded to fit the opposing teeth, resulting in a natural resting bite. Night guards with flat occlusal planes, however, have a flat occlusal surface.
Related Article: Can You Wear A Night Guard with A Crown?
A mouth guard with a flat plane is especially helpful for people who have a bad bite, sometimes referred to as malocclusion or disclusion. It works to relieve the resulting strained jaw muscle activity.
According to Timothy Mickiewicz, DDS, “For patients with a bad bite, unnatural stress and strain occur when biting down, chewing, or even when the jaw is at rest. When it comes to the anatomy of the jaw, the slightest abnormality can cause pain over time. If the bite is not corrected, TMD can develop.”
One of the major benefits of flat splints is they can be used for occlusal adjustment and repositioning that relieves TMD (TMJ). Your dentist may recommend this if he or she believes your TMJ is caused by a bad bite.
Additionally, flat plane guards can be used for bruxism and teeth clenching. The flat plane splint allows the teeth to slide freely when moved by the jaw muscles, but it protects the teeth from damage that can be caused by grinding and clenching. This damage can include:
- Worn enamel
Your dentist may recommend this type of night guard for your bruxing issue based on their assessment of how your teeth move when you grind them.
Where to Get Flat Bite Plane Night Guards
Flat bite plane night guards are also often called occlusal splints or bite splints. An obvious place to get a night guard is directly from the dentist who recommended the dental appliance. This is certainly an option, and you can check with your insurance to find out if they cover night guards. Otherwise, they can be pricey when you buy them through your dental office.
You can save time and money by ordering custom-fit night guards directly from dental laboratories. These labs use bite registration to create an impression of your teeth. Dental technicians then use your impressions to create occlusal appliances that are tailored specifically to your mouth. The price is often hundreds of dollars cheaper than the night guard from your dentist, but the quality is the same. Also, you won’t need to leave your home or make multiple dental appointments to complete the process. Important note: if you have TMJ disorder, you should not order a night guard online. You should work with your dentist directly to get the right treatment.
At Pro Teeth Guard, we provide professional quality custom night guards for bruxism. Although our night guards do not have a flat occlusal plane by default, our team is happy to work with you to create a custom-fit flat plane guard at no extra charge. We make our night guards in a professional dental lab, and every night guard is guaranteed to fit comfortably with our 110% money-back guarantee.