Night Guards

Splints, Night Guards or Sleep Mouthguards

They are known by different names, but whether being a dental splint, night guard, an occlusal splint or a mouthguard for sleep, there are many benefits to having a guard in during your sleep. Find out below how a night guard can help you with grinding and clenching (the condition known as bruxism).

Night Guard for Grinding of the Teeth.jpg

How do Dental Splints work?

Dental splints are a mouthguard for you to sleep with. They work by acting as a barrier between your teeth, this can help reduce the muscle activity of your grinding muscles and protect your teeth from wearing themselves down. Splints can also be made to position your jaw forward while you sleep, this makes your airway bigger. A bigger airway let more air through, and can help to stop snoring and reduce sleep aopnea. The result you are looking for will determine how the dental splint is made and customised to your mouth. As a result of this, it's easy to see why a dental splint needs to be precisely customised to both your mouth and jaw and also to your bite in order to achieve the results that you want.

What is the Difference Between a Mouth Guard and a Splint?

A mouth guard generally refers to the protective covering for sports. It is custom fit to your teeth, and can be different thickness depending on what you are using it for. The bite is generally not customized with a mouth guard. Like most things thought there is more to the mouth guard than you may first think. Want to make sure you're teeth are kept safe when playing sport? Check out our page on mouthguards here.

A splint is usually made through taking an impression of both your top and bottom teeth. You will then receive a plaster cast like in the picture below. Once we have this, we send it away to the lab where depending on your requirements and goals, acrylic or soft dual laminate will be molded over the cast.

Night Guard Container and Mould.jpg

Is a Splint for Grinding or Snoring?

Both!

depending on how the splint is made determines what it's purpose is. If the splint is designed to move the jaw into a position which keeps the airways clear whilst sleeping, then this will be useful to stop snoring. If however the splint is made to protect the teeth from grinding and clenching then the splint is primarily used of grinding

How Does a Splint Stop Grinding?

A well designed dental splint for grinding will help guide your jaw into a position where it can relax a bit more. The protective splint then absorbs the pressure that is created through the grinding and dissipates it through the whole splint. As a result your teeth are both protected from the grinding of the teeth and the jaw itself is under less pressure. This will let you have a better sleep and protect your teeth from being ground down.

How Can I Tell if I Need a Splint

Have you been told that you snore whilst sleeping?

Have you woken up with a sore jaw, and feels like you were clenching?

Has your dentist said that your teeth have been grinding down?

If so, getting a dental splint could be what you require. A dental splint may resolve mild sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea occurs when the throat is partially or completely blocked whilst asleep. If left untreated, you can wake up in the morning feeling tired and unrested. This is due to interrupted sleep and the stopping of breathing multiple times per hour during the night. It is important to treat this condition, as sleep apnoea if left untreated, can lead to 

  • higher risk of diabetes

  • stroke

  • headaches

  • depression

  • lower libido in men and impotence

Of course this isn't to mention also that tiredness can lead to a decrease in overall mood and well being and risks of accidents in the vehicle and workplace associated from this.

Snoring.JPG

A Night Guard can fix snoring and mild sleep apnoea

On the other side of things, the dental splint can also help with symptoms of bruxism (grinding of teeth) during sleep. Bruxism generally happens during the night whilst you sleep, so in most cases you won't actually be aware that you are doing it. If you experience any of the following symptoms, please talk to the dentist about a dental splint.

  • Abraded teeth (teeth starting to lose enamel through physical force)

  • Jaw pain (could extend to facial pain)

  • Sensitive teeth

  • Tense muscles in the facial region

  • Dislocation of the jaw.

  • Popping or clicking

  • Headaches

  • Lock jaw

  • Smooth areas on the biting surface from rubbing (wear facets)

If left untreated, the enamel itself could be worn away to the dentine of the tooth. Chips and cracking of the teeth can occur. The clicking or locking of the jaw can lead to dislocation and a restricted range of motion of the mouth.

The other thing that may happen over time is that the structure of your face itself will change. As you wear down your teeth, the way your jaw and face sit will start to change. This will have a noticeable affect on your appearance. As your teeth become shorter, the dimensions of your jaw, cheeks and lips will collapse, making you look older!

The Dentist Told Me I Need a Splint/Guard.. What is the Process?

For the patient, it's very similar to getting a normal mouth guard. Once you come to the dental office, you will bite into an impression. The difference is that these impressions and bite measurements are much more precise than what is needed for a normal mouth guard. From here, we send the impressions away to the lab where your acrylic night guard is custom made from the measurements taken. The guard will be designed to make sure your teeth stay a certain distance apart when you sleep. In the case of snoring, it's more about creating the best angle for your jaw to be in when you lie down and go to sleep. When you next come back, the dentist will have the new night guard ready for your trial. We make sure the dimensions are correct and everything fits as it should, then you're ready to go!

Impression-Night-Guard.gif

A mold impression is taken of the teeth with which measurements are made for the night guard

Is a Night Guard Uncomfortable to Sleep With?

It's one of those things... when you go to sleep, at first, any foreign object may feel a little uncomfortable or strange... but this wont take too long to get accustomed to. The dentist will take an impression of your mouth, to which the night guard will be custom fit to your mouth. Usually the adjustment phase is quite short and you will hardly notice it at all after a few weeks.

How Much Does a Dental Splint Cost?

$690 for a grinding splint

The night guards for snoring start from $1,400. These night guards are for your top and bottom teeth, and require a lot of measurements and checks after you receive your appliance. 

Are Dental Splints Permanent? 

depending on care and use.. typically your dental splint will last from 3 - 5 years. Eventually when you start to notice the bite surface has started to wear through, it's time for a new one. Remember that the night guard doesn't always stop you grinding, but rather protects your teeth from it. The wear that occurs on your night guard, would have occurred on your natural teeth!

Do Dental Splints Hurt?

No

It may feel a little uncomfortable at first, as mentioned above but the accostomisation period is quite short. The wearing of a dental splint generally will relieve pain in the jaw and facial area after use.

What Does Occlusion/Occlusal Mean?

Dental occlusion is how your teeth come together and the fit of your mouth. Thus an occlusal splint is a foreign object (splint) the directly affects the way your teeth come together. The aim is to slightly change or direct the teeth and bite to come together in a way that will help prevent grinding or snoring . Thus you can see that the dentist will have to take into account the individuals specific mouth and bite when making the splint.

Splint.JPG

Are Dental Splints for Grinding, Snoring or Trauma? Can the Same Splint be Used for Different Things?

Yes!

In fact it's quite common. People who experience teeth grinding or bruxism, will often have or develop other sleep disorders such as snoring or sleep apnoea. The dentist will be able to position your jaw correctly to both stop the snoring and have the protection in place for the grinding.

Why Should I get a Dental Splint Instead of One form eBay?

Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. The same is definitely true with dental splints or night guards. In fact wearing a dental splint that hasnt been custom fitted for your mouth can actually exasperate the problem causing jaw problems. This is due to the work that has to go into making sure the fit and angle of the splint is correct. If it isn't, it can change the posture and site of your jaw. This may cause pain, dislocation, bite problems and many other undesirable problems. We highly recommend that if you are considering getting a dental splint, to get it done properly[ with a professional dentist. Your smile is worth it!