Dental Splint Side Effects & How to Use Them

Do you find yourself waking up with headaches or pain in your jaws? If so, you might be battling Bruxism – a common dental condition many Australians experience. But there’s no need to panic because the solution to teeth grinding and clenching may be as simple as wearing a dental splint. 

Teeth grinding and clenching often happen involuntarily while asleep, but that’s not to say it can’t happen during the day. Stress, anxiety, alcohol consumption, smoking, snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) are factors that can cause Bruxism. 

This condition, regardless of when it happens, can cause problems like: 

  • Unusual wear and tear of teeth 
  • Cracked teeth
  • Broken teeth or dental restorations 
  • Pain in the temporomandibular joint (jaw joint)  
  • Sensitivity to hot and cold foods and drinks
  • Headaches or ear aches
  • Aching or stiffness in the jaws while chewing 

Identifying Bruxism isn’t always easy. But, if you notice any of these telltale signs, it’s time to speak with one of our friendly dentists at SDG Dental. 

What Are Dental Splints? 

When you come to us with signs and symptoms of Bruxism, we may recommend dental splints. Dental splints, also referred to as bite splints or occlusal splints, are custom-made oral appliances that prevent and reduce the effects of grinding and clenching on your teeth and bone. How do they work? By acting as a protective shield or layer between your upper and lower teeth, keeping them from grinding together. 

However, that’s not all they do. Dental splints offer a host of other benefits, including: 

  • Reduces jaw tension and pain – A dental splint can reduce the excessive strain on your jaw joints, easing pain and difficulties moving your jaw. 
  • Prevents headaches – By preventing your teeth from grinding and clenching, dental splints can reduce the likelihood of waking up with a headache in the morning. 
  • Ensure a good night’s sleep – Wearing a dental splint can help you get a good night’s sleep without the disruptions caused by grinding and clenching. 
  • Comfortable & easy to wear – Our dental splints are custom-made for you, ensuring effectiveness and comfort. 

While dental splints come with all these amazing benefits, they aren’t without any side effects. In this blog, let’s explore dental splint side effects and what you can do to avoid them by using them correctly. 

Dental Splint Side Effects 

Before we get into the side effects of dental splints, it’s important to realise that not all dental splints are the same. They can be broadly classified into two types: custom-made and over-the-counter dental splints. 

At SDG Dental, we offer bespoke, custom-made dental splints tailored to your mouth and jaw movements. On the flip side, there are one-size-fits-all over-the-counter dental splints. While they offer a quick fix, these over-the-counter products come with their own set of issues, including:

Discomfort & Irritation 

It takes some time for you to get accustomed to wearing dental splints. The discomfort will eventually go away in a couple of weeks. However, if pain and irritation persist, chances are you have a poor-fitting dental splint. 

Prolonged discomfort and irritation are common with over-the-counter dental splints. It’s like buying a pair of shoes without trying them on. They are bound to be uncomfortable, right? In the same way, if your dental splints don’t fit your teeth properly, they can cause pain in your jaw and mouth and even affect your breathing. 

Shifting Teeth 

Poorly fitted dental splints can cause your teeth to shift. This can cause permanent changes in your bite and worsen TMJ joint pain. If you think your dental splint is causing your teeth to shift, come by our clinic so we can address the issue before it worsens. 

Jaw Misalignment 

Ever felt like your jaw has shifted since you began wearing dental splints? Poor-fitting dental splints can lead to misalignments in your jaw, worsening your Bruxism condition and eventually leading to TMJ disorder

Choking Hazard & Risk of Allergic Reactions 

Over-the-counter dental splints may pose a choking hazard because of their poor fit. That’s not all, they could also trigger allergic reactions, as these splints could be made from poor-quality materials. To avoid both scenarios, the best thing to do is to invest in a custom-made dental splint. 

The bottom line is that the fit of your dental splint is very important. This is why one-size-fits-all solutions are ineffective. Our dentists are here to provide dental splints with a perfect fit, guaranteeing comfort and ensuring your dental splint does the intended task: to protect your teeth and jaw from the effects of teeth grinding and clenching. 

If you experience any of these dental splint side effects, don’t let it slide. Consult our dentist as soon as possible to nip the issue in the bud. 

How to Use Dental Splints 

Now that you know the importance of getting custom-made dental splints, it’s also important to understand how to make the most of them. 

Once we fabricate your dental splint, we will ensure it fits properly and comfortably. We will then provide instructions on how to use and care for your dental splint. 

When to wear your dental splint will depend on your individual circumstances. You may need to wear it at night or at specific times during the day, which we will let you know. To keep your dental splint in good condition for a longer time, it’s important to take care of it. Here are a few simple steps you can take:  

  • Remove your dental splint when you need to eat, drink, or brush and floss your teeth.  
  • Rinse your splint with cold water after each use to prevent bacteria build-up. Avoid using hot water, which can cause the splint to lose shape. 
  • Gently brush your dental splint with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Avoid using toothpaste as it can be abrasive, causing the splint to wear out quickly.  
  • When fully dry, store your dental splint in a clean and dry container away from harsh light.

Along with these steps, checking in with our dentist to ensure your dental splint fits properly and effectively is important. We will take a look at your dental splint and make any adjustments or replacements as needed. At SDG Dental, we offer custom-made dental splints tailored to your unique needs to treat Bruxism. So, contact us today for a personalised and effective solution.