Splints (or night guards) are necessary if you’re grinding or clenching your teeth.
Otherwise known as bruxism, excessive clenching or grinding of teeth – such as can occur during sleep – can lead to accelerated tooth wear, tension headaches and damage to the jaw joint.
A combination of both physical and psychological factors contribute to grinding, the most common being stress.
If teeth aren’t protected while this excessive grinding or clenching occurs, it’ll result in the need for dental treatments such as repairing chipped teeth and fillings, as well as the development of hairline cracks (which commonly need restoring with fillings, crowns, root canals or extractions). Furthermore, grinding teeth can lead to the ‘shortening’ of your tooth ‘height’ due to tooth wear, which can result in an older looking smile. The only way to repair a smile thats been reduced in height, is with a cosmetic smile makeover involving crowns – often 6-8 of them. Grinding your teeth is also a risk factor for gum disease – even if you only grind your teeth occasionally, throughout several periods a year – the years add up! A splint will act as a helmet for your teeth. They are a custom-made appliance designed to carefully fit over the upper or lower teeth to protect the teeth for people who suffer from bruxism, jaw joint disorders and reduce the frequency and severity of related symptoms such as tension headaches and neck pain.
Splints offer a safe, easy, and cost-effective way to prevent further wear and damage to teeth and jaw joint.
Generally speaking splints are made over 2 short appointments usually 1-2 weeks apart. In the first appointment a mould of your mouth is taken and at the second appointment the splint is fitted to your teeth. It’s best practice to bring your splint with you to your regular 6 monthly preventative care appointments so that your bite can be monitored and the splint adjusted if needs be. Many different types of splints exist and the type of splint is chosen based on patient and practitioner preference and types of muscular tension or jaw joint pain experienced.