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Why Use an Occlusal Splint to Protect Your Teeth?

An occlusal splint, or night guard, is a temporary dental appliance that helps distribute bite force evenly across the chewing surface. It is used to correct bite problems and protect the teeth from premature wear.

Night guards are useful for anyone who wants to keep teeth and mouth healthy, but they are specifically recommended for people with certain types of disorders (bruxism, TMJ disorder).

If you’re wondering what exactly an occlusal splint is, why it’s beneficial to wear one or whether the device is right for you, our dentists in Montreal have the answers! Find out everything you need to know about night guards in this article.

What is a night guard?

A night guard, or occlusal splint, is a removable mouth guard that prevents the upper and lower teeth from coming into direct contact.

Occlusal splints are usually custom-made out of resin using an impression of your teeth taken by a professional dentist. Similar mouth guards are used to protect the teeth during contact sports, but occlusal splints are designed specifically to treat dental conditions such as bruxism.

These dental appliances are simple to use and are widely favoured for their benefits and quick results.

The advantages of using an occlusal splint

For people with conditions that place abnormal pressure on the teeth, an occlusal splint can protect the dentition and prevent premature dental wear. The appliances are often called night guards because they are most often worn to prevent patients from grinding their teeth while asleep, but they may be worn during the day as well.

The guards are large enough that there is no risk of patients swallowing them in their sleep, and they are made of transparent material in order to be discreet for day wear. Note that occlusal splints can cause hypersalivation, so patients who only wear their appliance to sleep may want to put it on an hour before bed to give the body time to get used to it.

Occlusal splints for bruxism

Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding, a problem that affects a large portion of the population. Teeth grinding can affect children as well as adults, and may be caused by one of the following:

Treating bruxism can reduce dental wear, muscle and joint pain, migraines and tooth sensitivity. While a night guard can’t prevent the problem entirely, it can mitigate the long-term effects of teeth grinding.

Occlusal splints for TMJ disorders

Patients with TMJ disorders often suffer from a misaligned jaw and are at risk of damage to the disc that protects the cartilage. Located on either side of the face, the temporomandibular joint is the point that connects your upper and lower jaws. Problems related to the joint can be crippling for those who suffer from them.

An occlusal splint can relieve the pressure on your joints and rebalance your jaw.

Protect your teeth from premature wear with an occlusal splint

Occlusal splints offer effective protection for your teeth. However, the appliance and the teeth themselves must be well maintained in order for the treatment to work properly. For best results, brush your teeth regularly and thoroughly, preferably with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste that suits your needs. Don’t forget to floss once a day. While cleaning your teeth, you can soak your night guard in hot water to soften it.

Rinse your appliance with cold water after every use, and wash it with a cleaning tablet once a month.

Last but not least, contact your dentist if you feel any discomfort so that they can determine a diagnosis and find the right solution.

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