Occlusal splints are generally recommended for people who grind or clench their teeth, also known as "bruxism". They may also be made for people that have had extensive dental treatment done to protect their natural and restored teeth.
What is bruxism?
Some people grind their teeth and clench their jaw muscles during their sleep. Most of these people are not aware that they have this habit as it occurs while they are sleeping. Whilst we do not completely understand at present why some people brux their teeth and some people don't, it has been suggested that this may be linked to stress. Bruxism is a very common occurrence, and over the years the gradual wear of the teeth can amount to a serious situation.
How does it affect your teeth?
As bruxism causes the upper and lower teeth to wear against each other it leads to gradual shortening and chipping of the biting surfaces of your back teeth and the edges of your front teeth. This can cause sensitivity, fractures and affect the appearance of your teeth.
Bruxism can also lead to strain and injury to the jaw joint (TMJ joint) and associated muscles. This can lead to pain, clicking or locking of the joint or muscular headaches.
What is an occlusal splint?
An occlusal splint is a slim hard acrylic guard fitted to the upper jaw and covering the biting surfaces of your upper teeth. It is worn only at night. An occlusal splint will not stop you from grinding or clenching. It does however, guide the jaw into a neutral position which relieves some of the pressure on the jaw joint and very effectively protects your teeth against the destructive forces of bruxism.
What to expect during your occlusal splint appointments?
As our occlusal splints are custom made specifically for you in our on-?site laboratory, two short appointments are required:
During this appointment your dentist will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth as well as some measurements
During this appointment your dentist will ensure that your new splint fits comfortably around your upper teeth and in your bite.
Is further treatment necessary?
The purpose of a splint is to absorb the destructive forces of bruxism and to provide something to wear down other than your teeth. As such your splint will wear down, chip and may eventually break after years of grinding on it. When this occurs, your splint will need to be replaced.
In cases of severe bruxism in addition to an occlusal splint to protect your teeth, treatment by a physiotherapist may be necessary to address any muscular pain and to provide exercises to strengthen and protect your jaw joint.
Occlusal splints are generally recommended for people who grind or clench their teeth, also known as "bruxism".
They may also be made for people that have had extensive dental treatment done to protect their natural and restored teeth.
Important to know
Good dental hygiene is critical in keeping infection at bay. Non-?smokers and patients with good oral hygiene habits put themselves in a much better position for a full and fast recovery. Smokers will typically be encouraged to stop smoking beforehand to improve the odds of successful surgery.