Occlusal Splints

Occlusal Splints

Occlusal splints are worn to protect your teeth from wear and tear related to tooth clenching and grinding or bruxism.

Occlusal splints are for people who suffer from Bruxism

What is Bruxism? It’s more commonly known as teeth grinding (a “bruxing” action), and it’s something that people do involuntarily when they sleep.

It’s a very common habit, and many people don’t even realise that they are doing it. It tends to be a lifelong issue, and once detected, then it’s likely you will be a bruxer for the rest of your life. However, you can expect the severity of the grinding action to wax and wane through your life. We do not know much about why people grind their teeth, but it seems the severity of teeth grinding is in some way related to the amount of stress that you’re experiencing at a given time.

Despite how common it is, it is a good idea to recognise and treat it as quickly as possible, as it can have a severe impact on your teeth in the longer term.

What can Bruxism do to your teeth?

The impact of your teeth grinding against one another is a process called “attrition.” Attrition will chip the biting surface of your back teeth, as well as wear away the edges of the front teeth. In addition to making your smile look unsightly, these chipped and fractured teeth can become sensitive to cold, hot, acidic and sweet foods, and can even decay if not adequately cleaned.

It’s also possible for bruxism to cause damage to the jaw joints and associated muscles by putting too much strain on them. People often feel muscular headaches, neck aches and occasionally shoulder pain from long term habits of grinding.

If you are concerned about the effects of bruxism or feel that you may be grinding or clenching your teeth at night, then please contact the friendly Parra Dental team at 9633 9835 or email us on parradentalstudio@bigpond.com. Our team of experts will be happy to provide you with advice, and organise an appointment with your dentist if necessary.

What happens if I suffer from Bruxism?

The good news is that if you’re suffering from teeth grinding, you’ll have the solution within a couple of appointments with your friendly Parramatta and Cabramatta Dental Studios dentist.

In the first instance we’ll determine whether you need an Occlusal Splint. These Occlusal splints are slim, hard acrylic mouth guards that are fitted to the upper jaw, covering the biting surfaces of your upper teeth. These are only designed to be worn as you sleep, and while they won’t actually stop the grinding action, the Occlusal Splint will help keep the jaw in a neutral position, which in turn relieves the pressure on the jaw joint, and protects the teeth against the more destructive forces of bruxism.

The entire process will take you just two appointments. In the first appointment your Parra Dental dentist will take impressions of your upper and lower jaws, and make some measurements to help fabricate the splint. In the second appointment you’ll get your Occlusal Splint, and you’ll be ready to enjoy better, more peaceful sleep whilst preventing further damage to your teeth because of the grinding.

What happens after that?

Because the Occlusal Splint has been designed to take the impact of the grinding instead of your teeth, it will eventually wear down and break. In such an instance you’ll need to come back to get a new one measured. This can take years to occur, depending on how severely you grind and wear your occlusal splint.

In severe cases, you may still continue to feel jaw pain, ache, discomfort or limited opening. In which case, we would be happy to refer you to a physiotherapist or specialist, who will be able to help you by providing exercises to strengthen and protect your jaw joint.

If you have any other questions regarding bruxism and occlusal splints, we would welcome your queries. Please contact 9633 9835 or email us for more information.

Mouthguards for sport

If you play a contact sport, such as football or a martial art, then you’re probably aware of the need for a mouthguard. Essential for protecting teeth from wayward blows and expensive subsequent dentistry work, a mouthguard is something that you should purchase well before you start playing your chosen sport.

But don’t be fooled into buying an over-the-counter mouthguard. These provide some protection, but are really not adequate. Instead, we recommend that you come in for an appointment with one of our friendly experts, who will make sure that you get a mouthguard that will properly protect your teeth.

Custom-fitted mouthguards are carefully constructed, and take a couple of appointments to ensure that they’re fitted correctly. In the first appointment, your dentist will take an impression of your teeth. This will allow the dentist to properly assess your mouth and provide the best fit, size, coverage and thickness in the mouthguard to suit your mouth (and suit the sport that you’re playing). Then, in the second appointment, they will provide you with the mouthguard and address any other questions or concerns you might have then. At Parramatta Dental Studio, we provide mouthguards in many different colours, we can match your footy team or soccer team. Find out more by calling one of our friendly team members.

On-the-field, there’s other benefits as well. Because the custom-fitted mouthguard is a better fit in the mouth, you’ll be better able to talk with teammates on the field without speech impairment.

What happens once I’ve got a mouthguard?

Caring for a mouthguard is important, both to preserve it and protect your teeth from being affected by the mouthguard. After use it should be rinsed in cold water and properly stored. It is not a good idea to use hot water, as mouthguards can distort, and will become ineffective as a result.

You should make an appointment with your dentist every year after that in order to ensure the mouthguard still fits properly. And, if some major changes occur to your mouth, you should expect to replace the mouthguard. This usually only happens with children who have a combination of both the adult and baby teeth still present in the mouth. Once the baby teeth fall out, a new replacement mouthguard may be needed to ensure the best protection possible for the newly erupting adult teeth.

At Parramatta and Cabramatta Dental Studio, we are experts in making mouthguards for athletes young and old. Our friendly team, which can be contacted at 9633 9835, is always on hand to provide you with more information for any questions you might have, or organising an appointment for you to be assessed for a mouthguard. Call us now or check out our website page on Mouthguards.