Using Splints During Treatment for Teeth Grinding

For chronic teeth grinders TMJ ("temporomandibular joint") pain can be a huge issue. Over time the jaw moves and becomes misaligned leading to more pain and issues with the stability of the teeth. As a result your orthodontist may recommend that you wear a splint. Here are some of the splints that may be recommended to you.

A protective night splint

If you tend to grind at night the orthodontist may recommend a splint to sit over your top jaw and prevent you from causing any further wear to your teeth. This can be particularly relevant if you are in the process of getting caps, crowns or implants added to your teeth as these can often be more susceptible to damage from grinding. This overnight tension can lead to a very sore jaw in the morning. Many teeth grinders don't grind during the day, but only at night so this splint is a good way of preventing unexpected damage as well as TMJ pain. These are made of hard plastic, often with a softer comfort liner. 

A repositioning splint

Some chronic teeth grinders experience a movement in the positioning of their teeth through the constant pressure caused by grinding. Repositioning splints gently move the teeth back into their correct alignment over time with a gentle pressure. They can be worn on the top or bottom jaw and are often worn during the day for as long as required. By moving the teeth back into a better alignment TMJ pain is often resolved, in addition to giving the patient a better smile and less chance of other dental effects from the teeth grinding. These are also made of hard plastic, sometimes with a softer comfort liner. 

A sports or impact splint

If you are in the middle of intensive orthodontic work the last thing you want to do is to damage your teeth while playing a sport. Sports splint for TMJ sufferers not only protect the mouth from impact but also have additional toughness in case the user clenches during a tough moment. Many teeth grinders find that they can easily chew through standard soft sport mouth guards quite quickly in play, without even noticing that they are grinding their teeth! These splints are made from a medium hardness plastic with a softer liner. 

If you are being treated for teeth grinding and getting orthodontic repairs it's important that you wear any splints that the orthodontist recommends. These splints can help to correct dental issues associated with teeth grinding, as well as preventing damage to your teeth or the orthodontic repairs.