What is a Dental Splint Used For?
People that suffer with bruxism, teeth grinding, teeth clenching, or other similar problems know just how uncomfortable it can be. Left untreated, these problems can cause significant damage to the teeth.
TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) disorders are very common amongst people suffering with bruxism. TMJ can cause a range of symptoms, including (but not limited to):
- Clicking jaw
- Chipped teeth
- Jaw ache
- Impaired vision
- Sensitive teeth
- Misaligned teeth
The good news about TMJ is the fact that dentists can address this problem in numerous ways, including a dental splint.
But what are dental splints, and what is a dental splint used for? Well, that’s what we’re going to be going into more detail about shortly, so read on to learn more.
What is a dental splint?
A dental splint is an orthodontic device that is designed to fit snugly into the mouth and over the teeth, holding them in place. The splint prevents teeth from rubbing and grinding, particularly when a person sleeps.
Though similar to mouthguards, dental splints are different in how they work. Dental splints secure and hold the teeth in place to stop the wearer from grinding their teeth and clenching. Mouthguards are designed to protect the teeth from damage and trauma, especially during physical activities.
So what is a dental splint is used for? Typically dental splints are used to protect the teeth from bruxism and help secure the teeth in place while a person sleeps.
Different types of dental splints
There are two main types of dental splints: fixed, and removable.
With that said however, there are many different types of occlusal splints for patients to choose from. Some popular choices include the following:
Hard dental splints are tough and rigid and are usually made from hard acrylic materials.
They can be fitted over the upper or lower jaw and as they’re so tough they’re great for patients who suffer with extreme bruxism.
3D printed splints
3D printed splints are growing in popularity in the dental industry.
These splints are made using a biocompatible soft resin material which is strong, yet flexible and comfortable.
As the name implies here, soft/hard dental splints are made from a combination of materials which are both soft and hard.
Typically, they’re made from a hard acrylic material and a soft thermoplastic material. The end result is a tough and durable outer shell combined with a softer inner core for comfort.
Usually used for patients with moderate to mild bruxism, these splints are more comfortable than hard splints.
How long does a dental splint last?
In terms of how long a dental splint lasts, it really depends on the type of splint the patient wears in the first place.
Dental splints can last for years if they’re looked after, typically 3 – 5 years.
How long does a dental splint take to work?
A dental splint will get to work right away when it’s worn to help protect the teeth from bruxism.
If the teeth are damaged however, splints may be worn for 2 – 4 weeks. In more extreme cases they may need to be left on for as long as 4 months.
Differences between a splint and a mouthguard
Although the two devices are similar, a dental splint is worn to hold the teeth securely in place to prevent grinding. Mouthguards offer protection to the teeth from injury and trauma, which is why they’re worn during sports.
Is dental splinting permanent?
Dental splinting is not permanent in the sense that you don’t wear a dental splint for the rest of your life. With the right oral hygiene and care however, the results enjoyed from a dental splint can be permanent.
Does tooth splinting hurt?
Wearing a dental splint should not be painful. Sure, the teeth may be sensitive and the splint itself may be a little firm and possibly uncomfortable, but it should not be painful.
If your dental splint does hurt, speak to your dentist as this is not right.
Are dental splints covered by insurance?
Here in Australia, dental splints are usually not covered by health insurance, though this can change depending on who your insurance provider is.
How much does a dental splint cost in Perth, Western Australia?
Here in Perth, you can expect to pay around $379 for an occlusal splint, though of course, prices do vary. As a rough guide, expect to pay between $379 and $600.
Book your consultation today
Here at Dental Armour, we offer a number of mouthguards, dental splints, and other similar devices, all for very affordable prices.