Occlusal splints are referred to people, who for example grind their teeth while sleeping or bite their teeth hard in certain occasions. This can lead to tooth attrition, dental enamel damagement, pain and jaw injuries.
The splint is principally used while sleeping, but in some instances, it can be used while driving or while doing work on a computer, for example. Occlusal splints are prepared by a dentist using replicas or by scanning.
Occlusal splints have three important features:
Protecting the teeth
Teeth grinding is a common problem. Teeth grinding erodes the mica of the teeth and in the worst case, teeth grinding can lead to the erosion of the teeth up until the point of meeting the gums if teeth are not protected with an occlusal splint. Teeth grinding does not always have to produce a sound: you can damage your teeth while sleeping if you unconsciously bite your jaws strongly together. You likely suffer from grinding or biting your teeth together if occlusion in the mornings does not feel right, your teeth are aching or the muscles in the head and neck area are tense.
Relaxing the occlusal muscles
Chronic pain of the face and neck and repeated headaches are common. Problems related to occlusion are often also what causes migraine related headaches, either causing the symptoms or worsening them. The tenseness of the muscles in the head and neck area and headaches are problems with which occlusal splints can often help. If an occlusal splint is not of enough benefit, the situation can be improved with a massage for occlusal muscles or with injections meant for relaxing the muscles.
Protecting the temporomandibular joints
The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw to the skull. Between the two bones is the articular disc. The temporomandibular joints are under a lot of strain while talking, chewing and yawning, for example. Pain in the joint and in its surroundings can be unpleasant, and it can even limit the movement of the joint. An occlusal splint between the teeth holds the joint area open which allows for better metabolism in the joint area while sleeping without the articular disc being pressed against the two bones while biting teeth together. Lock jaw, limited opening of the mouth and pain in the joint area refer to damage of the articular disc of the temporomandibular joint.