Splint (night guard) therapy is used to encourage your lower jaw to function more properly. Therefore, we have fabricated a night guard, an orthopedic appliance, to help reposition your lower jaw. Your night guard will help to relax jaw muscles which are in spasm with the goal of reducing muscle pain. Accidental trauma, naturally occurring malocclusion (poor bite), clenching or bruxing (grinding) of the teeth, psychological stress, developmental defects, & atypical oral habits are just some of the many reasons the lower jaw may malfunction.
Your night guard (also known as a bite splint or occlusal splint) is made of acrylic. It is designed to keep your teeth from coming in contact while you sleep. This allows the lower jaw to return to a comfortable hinge position without interference from your bite. In order to enjoy its benefits, you must wear your night guard every night. If you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth during the day, you may wear it then also. When you are not using your appliance, always keep it in water to prevent warping.
If you are using your night guard during the day, or eating at night before you go to bed, food can accumulate underneath it. Brush and floss your teeth thoroughly, then brush & rinse the inside and outside of the night guard before returning it to your mouth. Clean your night guard the same way before placing it in water when you are not wearing it. If you do not take care regarding the cleanliness of your mouth & night guard, plaque will accumulate causing dental disease (decay and gum disease). If you suffer a high rate of dental decay, fluoride-containing rinses or gels can be placed in your appliance once per day. Using a dental soak cleanser such as Polident® on a monthly basis can also help to keep your appliance fresh.
- Pets LOVE appliances that have steeped in your saliva, so be very careful about laying your night guard on a nightstand or anywhere your pet may be able to reach it.
- If you don’t see the improvement you’d like from night guard appliance therapy alone, we can discuss other treatment options as well: neurotoxin for the hyperactive muscles responsible for your discomfort, and or collaboration w/ a chiropractor and/or oral surgeon depending on the case.