Splints and Sports Mouthguards
Many people unknowingly clench and/or grind their teeth while they sleep. This is known as nocturnal bruxism. This can lead to headaches, toothaches or jaw and muscle pain and even tooth fracture. In addition, chronic teeth grinding can cause a lot of damage to the teeth and jaws. While it’s not always possible to ‘cure’ this habit, you can protect your teeth from further damage by using an occlusal splint.
Occlusal splints (also known as nightguards) are removable dental appliances customised to fit the surface of your teeth. They are made of hard acrylic resin and may be used on the upper or lower teeth. They effectively act as a barrier between teeth, preventing from grinding against each other and even out the biting area to help relax muscles in the head and neck area caused by grinding.
Bruxism can also be an indication of other more serious conditions, such as obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). If you also suffer from snoring or excessive daytime sleepiness, please let us know.
Teeth grinding is also common in children, and may be an indication of airway obstruction. Adults with OSA typically suffer from daytime sleepiness, but a tired child is often cranky, loud and inattentive in school. It has also been shown that chronic sleep deprivation in children can lead to developmental delay and ADHD. If you notice your child grinding, they may need a referral to an ear-nose-throat (ENT) specialist to assess their airway.
Caring for your occlusal splint:
- Take it out in the morning and give it a brush with a soft toothbrush – do not use toothpaste as this can abrade the surface of the occlusal splint. Allow to air-dry.
- Store in the plastic container provided.
- Replace if broken or bitten through.
The most common cause of dental injuries comes from playing sport or recreational activities where impact can damage the jaw and teeth. A custom fit mouthguard is like a seat belt for your teeth – it won’t stop collisions but you’ll be sure that your teeth will be protected. Also, unlike boil-and-bite mouthguards, custom mouthguards won’t slip or fall out of your mouth and don’t require any effort to keep in, leaving you free to concentrate on your game.
At Mascot Dental Clinic, we will assess your mouth to provide the best fit, size, coverage and thickness of mouthguard for your sport. This typically requires 2 appointments – the first to take impressions of your teeth and the second to fit it by your dentist to ensure it is comfortable and secure.General Tips:
- Wear the mouthguard at all times, including training sessions.
- Rinse the mouthguard in soap and warm (not hot) water after each use. Allow to air dry.
- Disinfect the mouthguard from time to time using a mouthwash.
- Do not leave the mouthguard in direct sunlight as heat can damage it.
- Ask your dentist to inspect your mouthguard at every check-up.
- Replace the mouthguard if damaged.
- Replace a child’s mouthguard every 12-18 months as growth and new teeth can alter the fit.
- Replace an adult’s mouthguard after dental treatment or tooth loss.