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How to Use an Occlusal Splint for Bruxism

Are you waking up to the torment of persistent headaches, aching jaws, or teeth that seem overly sensitive? If so, bruxism might be the culprit—a condition marked by the unconscious grinding or clenching of teeth, especially during sleep. While the exact causes of bruxism remain elusive, its impact on the well-being of Australians is undeniable, disrupting countless nights of rest.

Thankfully, there exists a remedy—an occlusal splint, often referred to as a night guard. This tailor-made dental device holds the promise of alleviating the adverse effects of bruxism and restoring tranquillity to your nightly repose. However, if you’re new to the world of occlusal splints, you likely have questions. Fear not, for this comprehensive guide is here to navigate you through the intricacies of utilising an occlusal splint in your battle against bruxism.

What You Should Know About Occlusal Splints and Bruxism

Bruxism involves the involuntary grinding or clenching of teeth, commonly occurring during sleep. This habitual behaviour can lead to a range of discomforting symptoms, including:

  • Headaches
  • Jaw pain and tightness
  • Tooth Sensitivity
  • Earaches
  • Damaged teeth (chipping, cracking, or excessive wear)

Enter the occlusal splint—a custom-fitted dental appliance meticulously crafted by your dentist to serve as a protective barrier. This physical shield effectively mitigates the detrimental effects of teeth grinding, alleviating strain on the jaw muscles and providing relief from associated discomfort.

Benefits of Using an Occlusal Splint

Reduced Pain

Occlusal splints offer relief from the pain and discomfort associated with bruxism by preventing teeth from grinding together. This reduction in pressure on the jaw, muscles, and head can significantly enhance your overall quality of life, allowing you to navigate daily activities with greater ease and comfort.

Improved Sleep Quality

Bruxism often disrupts sleep patterns, leading to fatigue and diminished cognitive function during the day. Occlusal splints mitigate these disturbances by curbing teeth, grinding, and clenching, promoting deeper, more restorative sleep. With improved sleep quality, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated, ready to tackle the day ahead.

Preserved Teeth

The continuous friction caused by bruxism can erode tooth enamel over time, predisposing you to cavities and heightened tooth sensitivity. Occlusal splints act as a protective shield, absorbing the impact of clenching and grinding and safeguarding the health and integrity of your teeth for years to come.

Reduced TMJ Issues

Bruxism places extreme strain on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), leading to discomfort, clicking sounds, and limited jaw mobility. Occlusal splints alleviate these symptoms by stabilising the jaw joint and alleviating pressure, restoring harmony and functionality to your oral structures.

Reduced Anxiety

In some cases, bruxism may be linked to underlying anxiety or stress. By wearing an occlusal splint, you can mitigate the physical tension associated with bruxism, fostering a sense of calmness and relaxation. The feeling of security provided by the splint can further alleviate anxiety, promoting a restful state of mind conducive to optimal well-being.

How to Wear Your Occlusal Splint

Preparation

Prior to inserting your occlusal splint, ensure both your hands and mouth are clean. Thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water, and brush your teeth using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. This eliminates any debris or bacteria that may compromise the efficacy of the splint and minimises irritation to your gums.

Insertion

Carefully position the occlusal splint over your clean, dry teeth, ensuring a snug yet comfortable fit. Should you experience any discomfort or looseness, consult your dentist for adjustments. Optimal fit is essential to maximise effectiveness and ensure a peaceful night’s sleep.

Duration of Wear

Typically, your dentist will recommend wearing the splint at night while you sleep. The duration of wear may vary depending on the severity of your bruxism. In some cases, daytime wear for short intervals may also be advised, especially if you exhibit daytime clenching habits. Always adhere to your dentist’s specific guidelines for wear duration.

Removal

Upon waking or at the end of the recommended wear period, gently remove the splint by grasping its sides and pulling upwards or downwards. Avoid twisting or bending the splint, as this can compromise its structural integrity.

Cleaning

After removal, rinse the splint thoroughly with clean, lukewarm water. Employ a soft toothbrush and mild, non-abrasive toothpaste to gently brush the splint, avoiding harsh chemicals or hot water that may damage it. Rinse once more and store the splint in its designated container to maintain cleanliness and hygiene.

Embrace a Bruxism-Free Lifestyle

Occlusal splints serve as invaluable allies in your quest to overcome the burdens of bruxism, offering relief from its disruptive symptoms and fostering uninterrupted rest. By adhering steadfastly to the guidance outlined in this guide and cultivating a collaborative relationship with your dentist, you can greet each morning with renewed vigour, liberated from the nocturnal afflictions of bruxism.

If you suspect bruxism, a consultation with your dentist is still the optimal action to take to devise the best treatment plan tailored to your individual needs and circumstances. For dental health solutions, seek support from our Superior Smiles dentists! From oral cleaning to occlusal splints, our expert dentists are here to serve you with excellence and professional care. Call us now at +61 8 7562 9085 to ensure you’re qualified to get an occlusal splint for your teeth grinding problem.

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