Night Occlusal Splints
Teeth grinding or clenching or nighttime clenching is often a commonly neglected problem and one of the most undiagnosed sleep disorders. Most of the time, patients don’t even know they have this habit until they recognize the signs and symptoms involved in it and they complain of the consequences from it.
Also known as “Bruxism”, the most common concerns that arise from this is the wearing down of teeth and severe jaw joint pain that radiates from the jaw up to the head. This is a disorder that may be stress-inducing, anxiety related, or may be caused by other health concerns such as sleep apnoea.
Bruxism is a habit that may affect the patient’s everyday living and eventually urge them to visit their dentist for a consult. From there, we are able to identify their night clenching habits.
Our dentists can construct a splint for you to wear over your teeth at night, protecting them from this damage. At Identity Dentistry, we are fortunate to have the technology and craftsmanship to address this problem and this is through the use of Night Occlusal Splints.
A night occlusal splint is a dentist prescribed, removable appliance that is custom made and perfectly fit for the patient to treat and manage dental and health concerns that come about with teeth clenching and grinding habits.
Night Occlusal Splints are especially indicated when patients are experiencing the following signs and symptoms:
- Noticeable wear and damage on the edges and surfaces of the teeth
- Fractured restorations
- Pain on the jaw
- Difficulty in opening the mouth and eating
- Radiating pain towards the head causing ear pain and/or dull headache
- Soreness of the cheek
- Discomfort on the jaws in the morning when you wake up
- In severe cases, loss of hearing and aggravated temporomandibular joint disorder
During your dental appointments, your dentist can notice symptoms that indicate you may have a teeth grinding/clenching habit. Severe cases would require that the treatment be more extensive and our dental professional may recommend seeing a specialist for nocturnal habits.
If it is accompanied by other health concerns such as sleep apnoea, a different treatment plan will be laid out by the dentist and this may include SomnoDent.
For manageable cases, the dentist will prescribe a night occlusal splint and have it custom fabricated for you. This is made using molds of your teeth and using acrylic or resin material and is worn over the biting surfaces of the teeth.
Not all night occlusal splints are created equally. At Identity Dentistry, our dental professionals will make sure that your night occlusal splint serves its primary purpose. This is perfectly designed for you ensuring fit, comfort, functionality and the longevity of the material to be used.
- Provides a protective barrier on the surfaces of teeth, preventing further damage
- Lessens unwarranted pressure on the jaw joints
- Relieves jaw and other muscle-related discomfort
- Stabilizes jaw joints and reduces likelihood of jaw disorders
- Manages teeth clenching
- Eventually establishes a better bite for the patient
Your occlusal splints should be worn depending on your dentist’s directives and this is informed by the severity of the case.
Night Occlusal Splints should not be worn during eating or when playing contact sports.
A certain amount of discomfort may be felt especially during the first few days of wear. This is normal. Also, when the appliance is removed, your teeth will feel like they do not fit. Excessive salivation is also expected. It is important that the patient is disciplined with wearing the occlusal splints during this adjustment phase to guarantee success of treatment.
It is also important to keep a good oral hygiene routine. Bad breath and tooth decay may result if this is not done. Rinse and store the appliance using cold water to prevent it from drying out and distorting.
To conform to the shape of the teeth and to maintain good fit, night occlusal splints are adjusted and relined and this is a necessary procedure to aid with the muscle pain experienced with this oral habit.
If you have concerns about your oral health habits, reach out to our friendly team of dental professionals at Identity Dentistry to arrange a consultation.