You’re not alone.  In fact, in the last 20 years I’ve been doing this dentist thing, I ‘ve seen a dramatic increase in patients that need the same.  So let’s go through the basics…

What is it?

The short answer is an occlusal splint is a dental appliance used to minimize the damage of you grinding your teeth AND protect your jaw joint at the same time.

Why was it recommended to me?

Occlusal splints are typically recommended for one of two main reasons. 

  1. Your teeth are showing signs of wear and barring an unusual habit, the only thing in the U.S. diet that can truly wear your teeth are your teeth.
  2. Your jaw joint is unhappy.  You might know this if you wake up with a sore jaw, ear aches or headaches.  You also may know if your jaw pops, clicks…or worse locks open or closed on occasion.

Can I buy one at the store?

Not the best plan.  I know they cost less…sometimes substantially less, however, as mom and dad taught you, “ya get what ya pay for”…

The reason you want a dentist fabricated splint is material based.  When you’re grinding your teeth OR your jaw is acting up, you need to take the stress off both.  To make that happen, we need a material that’s softer than your teeth, but hard enough to control what teeth touch it when you bite down.  Store bought splints are soft.  AKA, when you bite down, you’re still putting the force on your teeth and jaw exactly as you did without the splint.  The only difference…something in between your teeth.  And what happens then…you actually bite down harder and put more pressure where you want less.

What do I do next?

Ask your dentist… or feel free to ask us…we’re happy to hop on the phone and answer your questions.  Whatever you do, don’t wait!  We see far too many people when it’s too late. 

The East Amherst Dental Team



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