Occlusal splints include mouth guards and bite plates. These dental splints are made by dentists exclusively per customer or patient These can help stabilize the jaw and decrease muscle tension. Dental splints prevents bruxism and teeth grinding which may cause long term mouth pain.
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- 1 What Are The Effects Of Bruxism?
- 2 TMJ Disorder – What Is It?
- 3 Mouth Splint VS Mouth Guard – What’s The Difference?
- 4 Bite Splint VS Night Guard – What’s The Best Choice?
- 5 Choosing Between TMJ Splint VS Night Guard
If you often wake up sporting a sore jaw or a dull headache, you might be suffering from a condition called bruxism. Bruxism is a condition that is fairly common, affecting up to 31% of the adult population. This condition is defined as an excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching, whether voluntary or involuntary.
If you wake up sporting a sore jaw, you might be suffering from a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. These disorders can affect one or both of our TM joints, and they can be very unpleasant.
Both bruxism and TMJ disorders are conditions that can be managed with the help of TMJ splints or with the help of night guards. In the following article, we explore how bruxism and TMJ disorders can affect our well-being and the management options at our disposal.
What Are The Effects Of Bruxism?
Even though it seems like a harmless behavior, bruxism can have severe consequences. People who clench their jaws and grind their teeth can experience:
When we clench our jaws, our head muscles tense. If we clench our jaws for a long time, the muscles covering our head tense. And unlike our leg muscles that cramp when they’re tense, our head muscles give us headaches. These tension-type headaches can last for a long time, and they can diminish the sufferer’s quality.
2. Disrupted Sleep
People who clench their jaws while they sleep do not do well as those who don’t. Not only does the bruxism keep the sufferer awake, but it can also produce noises loud enough to wake up the sufferer’s partner as well.
3. Stiff Jaw
Those who suffer from a chronic form of bruxism often wake up with a stiff jaw. The stiffness of the jaw might not bother you too much at first, but it can lead to a temporomandibular disorder which is a serious condition.
4. Ear Pain
Ear pain is often triggered by a painful jaw. Since those who grind their teeth are more likely to experience jaw pain, they are also more likely to suffer from ear pain as well.
5. Damaged Teeth
Clenching your jaw can damage your teeth. People who suffer from bruxism often experience cracked teeth. Hairline fractures or even longitudinal fractures of their teeth are not uncommon, and their risk of infection is higher.
TMJ Disorder – What Is It?
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The temporomandibular (TMJ) joint connects our jawbones to our skulls. We have a joint on each side of our heads, and they control the movement of our jaws. Many factors can cause a TMJ disorder.
The most common cause is the habitual clenching of the jaw and grinding of the teeth. However, some people might experience a TMJ as a result of a combination of factors like arthritis, injuries, and genetics.
TMJ disorders are usually associated with pain and discomfort, and they can be extremely unpleasant.
A TMJ disorder usually presents one or more of the following signs:
These disorders are difficult to treat, but they can be easy to manage, as we will see further in the article.
Mouth Splint VS Mouth Guard – What’s The Difference?
Now that we’ve seen how bruxism can affect our well-being let’s take a look at the different management options at our disposal. First off, let’s see how the different management options work, and how to properly use them.
Mouth guards protect our teeth from an impact. These are the types of guards you would see in a boxing or football match. You can buy this type of guard for a pharmacy.
However, not even the best over the counter mouth guard for TMJ can match your jaw position perfectly. This is why it would be better to ask your dentist to take an impression of your mouth and create a custom-made mouth guard.
A mouth splint is an accessory made by dentists or dental technicians from tough acrylic. These splints are usually done after the dentist takes an impression of your teeth. While mouth splits have several applications in dentistry, the most common one is to restrict the harmful effects of bruxism.
The splints are placed between your upper and lower jaw to discourage grinding. Using a TMJ mouth splint will relieve your jaw pressure and it will also protect your teeth.
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Bite Splint VS Night Guard – What’s The Best Choice?
Dental night guards are made out of tough materials and they protect your teeth while you sleep. These guards are ideal for those who suffer from bruxism.
While these guards can be really helpful for those who clench their teeth, you should consider investing in a custom-made guard for everyday use. You should only use a generic mouth guard substitute if your main guard is damaged or if you’re traveling without it.
However, using a generic bite guard for TMJ is not recommended because they might not be helpful.
A dental occlusal splint for TMJ positions the jaw that will help relieve the pressure off the jaw and ease the discomfort. These splints have to be personalized to be able to guide your jaw in a comfortable position, so your dentist will have to create one using an impression of your mouth.
So, if you’re looking for an occlusal guard for bruxism, you can choose a generic or a custom-made model. The main advantage of the custom one is that it will be more comfortable to wear while you sleep, so you’re less likely to split it out.
On the other hand, if you’re not looking for a splint for teeth clenching but for a TMJ disorder, you cannot order a generic model. Even though generic models cost less, they are also less likely to be helpful.
Choosing Between TMJ Splint VS Night Guard
Choosing between a TMJ splint and a night guard can be difficult if you don’t know what to look for, and you might find this helpful if you are still undecided. As you could see in the sections above, each of these mouth guards offers different advantages and disadvantages. Since the guards are designed to serve different purposes, they have different designs and produce different effects.
Even though you might have made up your mind about which type of guard to purchase, you should also consider consulting with a dentist. The dentist will most likely recommend the best approach for your particular needs.
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