Does the bite splint help against teeth grinding?
A so-called “grinding splint” is the best way to protect the teeth from the damage caused by grinding. As with clenching, the teeth rub against each other and wear each other out. The teeth lose the relief of the chewing surfaces, which over the years causes the teeth to lose height and the cusps to flatten.
If this process is not stopped or slowed down by a bite splint, the hard tooth substance is lost and chewing becomes more difficult. In general, a bite splint is made of plastic. Therefore it is softer than the teeth.
When grinding, it is not the teeth but the plastic that is rubbed off first. A possible consequence of the teeth grinding is pain in the jaw joint. The constant, mostly unconscious “chewing” causes cramps of the chewing muscles, which irritate the temporomandibular joint.
If the hard tooth substance wears off, the rows of teeth come together later when closing the mouth. This means that the mouth can be closed further than before. A toothless person can close his mouth further than if all teeth were to bite on each other. However, the temporomandibular joint is naturally aligned so that it is in a comfortable position when biting together. But if the mouth can be closed further, the temporomandibular joint wears out and, like any other joint, can cause pain over time.
Alternatives and accompanying therapy to the bite splint
In the case of slight problems or simple tensions, usually only a splint therapy is applied first. However, if more serious problems are present or if the applied therapy does not show the desired success, supporting or continuative therapy means can be prescribed. Physiotherapy is part of the pain-diagnostic treatment, just like drug treatment.
In physiotherapy, therapeutic methods are applied with the help of exercises that do not have to be limited to the jaw and facial area, since incorrect posture can also be the cause of temporomandibular joint problems. Drugs that work against inflammation in the joint or make the pain more bearable can also be part of the therapy. One can take the initiative to support the treatment by changing one’s own life circumstances, which may cause a lot of stress or mental suffering.
Relaxation and stretching exercises can be carried out in the evening or when one notices that the temporomandibular joint and the muscles involved are very tense at that particular moment. Alternative healing methods such as acupuncture can also reinforce the desired effect. A surgical intervention is tried to be avoided as long as possible by the above mentioned possibilities, but cannot be excluded in principle.
Does a bite guard against snoring make sense?
One reason for snoring is that the lower jaw falls back too far when lying down. Thus the pharyngeal muscles close the throat and the airway. There are 2 types of special snoring splints: the tongue is pulled forward so that it does not fall into the throat, or the lower jaw is pulled forward by a protrusion splint. A pure bite splint, which only helps against teeth grinding, is actually not sufficient to bring the tongue or lower jaw forward. However, in some cases, it is possible that the splint has been ground in so well that the lower jaw remains in the “normal” position even at night.