A custom bite splint or night guard is an excellent way to prevent the jaws from fully engaging to the point that teeth wear against one another, giving you just enough space so that the mouth can be closed yet still relaxed. We can decrease the wear and tear of our patients’ teeth and restorations, resulting in greater stability and longevity of both their fillings and dentition.
These oral appliances do not stop grinding or clenching activity, they are extremely helpful in preventing or stopping damage to the teeth, jaw muscles and temporomandibular joints (TMJs). The relief obtained by these devices is sometimes remarkable and can occur within a short period of time. These appliances produce the best results when custom-fit, monitored and modified over time. The process of fabricating the night guards involves quick impressions/molds in the office. Two weeks later we will have a lab-fabricated custom fit night guard ready for you. This second try-in visit usually requires quick minor bite adjustments. Over the counter night, guards are available but the vast majority of them will not fit well. A good fit will increase the chances of proper compliance. Better compliance equates to more protection which is our objective for our patients. Additionally, OTC guards tend to provide a false sense of protection due to the dramatic decrease in thickness during the fitting process.
Important to know, an oral appliance is not designed to move your teeth or rearrange your bite but instead serves as a shock absorber and oral cushion. It may be designed to be worn on your upper teeth or your lower teeth, depending upon the nature of your problem.
As for treatment of bruxism associated with sleep apnea, an oral sleep appliance may be able to provide effective relief and a better night’s rest with the first use. Such appliances position the lower jaw in such a way that the airway is naturally opened, and the teeth do not engage one another.