How long should you wear an occlusal splint?

Wearing time of an occlusal splint

Most patients are concerned with the question of how long such an occlusal splint has to be worn in order to improve the symptoms. In addition, for many the question arises whether the device has to be worn for a lifetime or whether temporary use is sufficient.

With regard to these questions, it must be noted that an occlusal splint is only used for symptomatic treatment. The patient usually notices the first noticeable treatment success after the first night. Headaches decrease and the cramps in the masticatory muscles noticeably decrease. When worn regularly (This means the occlusal splint should be worn every night as prescribed) the patient already feels a significant relief of symptoms after one to two weeks. This fact is due to the fact that the masticatory muscles are relieved very early, but they tighten again during the course of the day.

Learn more about it: Grinding splint

The result is a recurrence of headaches, tension and / or cracking of the temporomandibular joints. Only after a while does the tension decrease so much that the problem subsides over the course of the day. During the day, light relaxation exercises help. Placing the tongue on the hard palate, i.e. directly behind the incisors of the upper jaw, relaxes the masticatory muscles.

Can you wear an occlusal splint permanently?

If an occlusal splint covers all of the teeth in a jaw and is supposed to help against grinding at night, it should actually be worn permanently at night, but it can be neglected during the day. Therapeutic bite splints, e.g. DIR splints should be worn 24 hours a day, but not “forever”. This is because these splints only rest on the lower posterior teeth, including the canine, and unfortunately lead to an elongation of the anterior teeth if they are worn for too long. Therefore, after a certain period of wear, the loss of height must be compensated for by grinding away newly created contacts between the upper and lower jaw and making crowns at a new vertical height.

Read more on the topic: Occlusal splints

Who should wear an occlusal splint during the day?

Patients who crunch a lot will find more relief by wearing the splint at night AND during the day, e.g. B. Patients in stressful situations (typically: students in the exam phases). In the case of damage to the temporomandibular joint due to a lowered vertical loss of height of the denture, it is also recommended, since omitting the splint inevitably leads to compression of the temporomandibular joint disc and thus pain. It should always be taken into account that constant carrying-during-the-night and taking-out-during the day can mean additional stress for a biological system and must be decided individually.

Manufacturing time for an occlusal splint

The manufacturing time of an occlusal splint depends on the plastic used. The impression taking at the beginning is the same for all methods. This can be done with the material alginate (duration 10 minutes, costs low) or digitally with a camera (duration 10 seconds, costs high!). These impressions are poured with freshly mixed plaster on a so-called vibrator to avoid the formation of bubbles (6 min.). After the plaster of paris has hardened (2 hours), the model of the jaw that is to carry the splint is embedded in metal pellets in a deep-drawing device (5 minutes) so that only the teeth protrude.

A plastic film is heated electrically under a heating coil and brought over the model by means of a swivel arm. There the film presses itself onto the model under suction and cools down. The model can then be removed and edited. The excess is removed with a milling machine (15 min.), The edges polished. Then both models are placed in an articulator (artificial jaw joint, duration 15 min.) And the splint is ground so that it does not impair the jaw (5 min). With the patient in the mouth, this procedure is repeated later until all teeth are in uniform contact with the splint (5 minutes). In summary, it can be said that this type of production takes about 3 hours. Another method in which the scattered plastic polymerizes out in a pressure pot takes about 2 hours longer.

You might also be interested in this topic: Materials of an occlusal splint

Summary occlusal splint

Under the term Occlusal splint one understands a dental device made of plastic, the shape of which is adapted to the individual dental arch of the respective patient. Bite splints are used in the Dentistry Especially for the treatment of diseases of the masticatory system (technical term: Myoarthropathies) used.
Wearing the bite splint reduces unphysiological tooth contact (technical term: Parafunctions) and prevents the teeth from rubbing and pressing against each other. Regular wearing of the occlusal splint should overload and / or incorrectly stress the teeth and the Temporomandibular jointthat cause enormous compressive forces are canceled. The effects of such an improper load, for example, the occurrence more often a headache or muscle pain in the area of ​​the temporomandibular joints can be treated particularly effectively in this way.

In addition, it must be ensured that the hard tooth substance (especially the Enamel) by frequent or strong Grinding teeth and pressing is increasingly attacked and abraded. In dental terminology, this phenomenon is known as abrasion. The use of the bite splint also counteracts this problem, because the tooth surfaces are separated from one another by a solid plastic layer and therefore do not come into direct contact with one another. As a rule, there is no need for a separate occlusal splint for the upper jaw and the Lower jaw wearing the appliance in one half of the jaw is usually sufficient to ensure the desired success of the treatment.
The main part of the patient only needs to use the grinding splint during sleep (i.e. At night) are worn. In particularly pronounced cases, however, it can make sense to use the splint during the day.