Grinding wearing you down?

Night time grinding can be caused by stress and other factors and can lead to serious problems with your teeth and jaws. A splint may be the solution to the issue.

What is it?

Information about your occlusal splint

An Occlusal splint (also called a night guard) is a custom molded hard plastic appliance that fits over the upper teeth. It is designed to protect natural teeth, crowns and implants from wear and cracking from clenching and grinding habits [Bruxism] and relieve muscle tension and painful joint symptoms.

Bruxism is an excessive clenching or grinding of the teeth that is not a part of normal chewing movements. It can lead to excessive wear on the teeth and may cause permanent damage to the teeth and the jaw joints

How does a splint help?

The splint is custom made on models of your teeth using a chewing simulator and is designed by our technician [who was formerly technician to the Professor at the University of Sydney] to establish a perfectly even bite and prevent individual tooth wear and also reduce destructive forces on the jaw joint, ligaments and cartilage.

What happens if you don’t use a splint when indicated?

The enamel surfaces of teeth rapidly wear down, exposing the soft internal part of the tooth which wears quickly. If left to wear down as in the bottom photo, then bacteria can penetrate through to the nerve and a Root Canal may be required.

To restore the teeth you may need Crowns or Veneers

Crowns and implants are protected from excessive forces which may chip or loosen them.

Using the splint

It should be worn as directed, usually just at night, but some patients may need to also use it during the day if in acute pain. Do not use when eating.

At first you are likely to notice one or more of the following:

  • The splint may feel tight on your teeth ,especially front teeth, when you first insert it

  • Increased salivation
  • When the splint is removed, your teeth may feel like they do not fit normally together

These are all normal and will disappear in a short time, normally it takes about a month for patients to get used to wearing a splint.

Adjustments

Adjustments to your splint are always necessary and the number will depend on the nature, complexity and severity of your clenching and grinding habits and joint-muscle problem. The adjustments are an integral part of the treatment, as each adjustment allows further resolution of the joint-muscle problem. As the adjustments take time and require skill to perform, there is a fee for the first adjustment only, 2nd and further adjustments in the next 12 months are no charge.

Care and storage of splints

Ongoing use:

Once the initial adjustments are completed, your splint will still need to be checked and possibly adjusted from time to time. Usually, this can be done as part of your regular check-up appointment.

Please bring your splint to all dental appointments, as any future dental treatment eg fillings or crowns may require adjustment of the splint.

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