Splints and Night Guards
Splints or night guards are used to treat and prevent the irreversible damage caused by teeth grinding or bruxism. Splints can prevent the excessive wear of tooth surfaces, reduce muscle pain, alleviate headaches, decrease tooth sensitivity, prevent permanent joint damage, and lessen clenching behaviour.
At Health First Dental, we prefer two types of splints—the Dualflex splint and the NTI splint.
The Dualflex splint is a lab processed appliance, which combines the comfort of a soft splint and the accuracy and adjustability of a hard splint. It is usually made to fit over all of the lower teeth. The base of the splint becomes flexible at mouth temperature, eliminating uncomfortable forces on the teeth or gums. The hard biting surface makes the splint easy to adjust and extremely durable.
The NTI splint is a smaller appliance that fits over the front teeth. It takes about 20 minutes to make in the office. The NTI splint suppresses the contraction of clenching muscles by exploiting the nociceptive trigeminal inhibition reflex, also known as the jaw-opening reflex 1, 2, 3. This reflex protects front teeth from being broken by excessive force and is activated when pressure is placed on the front teeth 4. The NTI splint reduces clenching forces to 1/3 of maximum 5 and places the joint in a stable position.
- Stohler CS, Ash MM: “Excitatory response of jaw elevators associated with sudden discomfort during chewing”, J Oral Rhabil 13:225, 1986
- Sessle BJ: in Roth GI, Calmes R: Oral Biology, p. 61, The CV Crosby Co, St. Louis, 1981
- Management of Temporomandibular Disorders and Occlusion. 2nd edition, p. 37. Okeson, JP. 1989 CV Mosby Co., St. Louis
- Williamson EH, Lundquist DO: “Anterior guidance: its effect on eletromyographic activity of the temporal and masseter muscles”, J Pros Dent 49:816,1983
- “Effect of a prefabricated anterior bite stop on electromyographic activity of masticatory muscles”, J Prosthet Dent, 82(1):22-6 1999 Jul