Occlusal guards come in two varieties, sports guards and bruxism appliances. Sports guards are worn by athletes who are involved in contact sports. These guards are usually made of a resilient thermoplastic material which fits over either the upper or lower teeth. This guard serves to cushion and protect the teeth when impact is made to the lower jaw.
Bruxism appliances are worn to help prevent grinding and wearing down of the teeth. Typically, these appliances are worn during sleep, when many people unknowingly grind their teeth.