Crunch splint, relaxation splintMany people today suffer from temporomandibular joint problems. What starts with a slight crackling now and then when yawning can turn into pain with every movement over time, which makes everyday life more difficult and requires a solution. The causes can be manifold, mostly it is an overloading or permanent wrong load on the joints, caused by prosthetic dentures that do not fit optimally, wrong posture, accidents or bruxism.
A direct surgical intervention on the temporomandibular joint is only carried out if it cannot be further avoided. Alternative and less invasive means are the first choice. One of the most frequently used methods is the so-called bite splint. This rather inconspicuous-looking splint made of plastic is intended to provide healthy and optimal occlusion and to avoid overloading the teeth through bruxism. However, in times of increasing allergies it is interesting to know what material such a splint is made of and what risks may arise.
Benefits of rail
Many people suffer from bruxism, many do not notice it for a long time, because often the typical grinding of teeth and strong clenching occurs only during sleep. Only after a longer period of time do the first effects become apparent. Abrasions on the teeth, jaw pain, muscle tension, headaches and jaw joint pain become noticeable.
A crunching splint is intended to counteract these symptoms at an early stage and prevent further incorrect loading. Splints are usually made of plastic and are made either for the upper or lower jaw, although they are usually for the lower jaw. At night before going to sleep, they are placed on the teeth, sometimes they have to be worn during the day. This prevents the teeth from coming into direct contact with each other at night and prevents bruxing, allowing the teeth, muscles and joint to recover. The force is diverted to the splint.
There are different materials that can be considered for a bite splint. When choosing the right material, some criteria must be considered. For example, it should not cause allergies in the patient and should be easy to clean.
The wearing comfort should be as comfortable as possible, because it is unfamiliar to wear such a splint in the mouth, so it is better, the less it tightens and is not noticed. It should also last longer, not discolour unattractive and taste neutral, as this could irritate and unsettle the patient. It is also important for the manufacturing dental technician that the splint is made comfortable for the patient, that there are no complaints and that the manufacturing process is as uncomplicated as possible, and that no allergies are caused.
Furthermore, he has to design the splint in such a way that it can be inserted without any problems at the appointment for insertion, can be easily reworked if necessary and does not cause any damage. The following materials are available for selection, after the above-mentioned requirements have been met: Hot and cold polymers, thermoforming foils or light-curing plastics. The splints that are produced with the help of deep-drawing foils can be described as a rather simple occlusal splint that prevents bruxism at night, but has no therapeutic value for severe temporomandibular joint problems.
The restoration of a functional bite is not possible. They are transparent and very light, that is why they are often used as bite splints and have proven their worth there. A distinction must be made between this splint and a bleaching splint, which is made of softer plastic and is available for a different area of application.
An approx. 1mm thick PMMA foil is pulled over the plaster model under vacuum. This is done by a special deep-drawing device.
PMMA is the abbreviation for polymethyl methacrylate, also known as Plexiglas, which is a transparent and thermoplastic material. A blank is produced, which is cut out and ground by the dental technician until it fits the patient’s jaw optimally and without any problems. Hot and cold polymers are also used for the production of dentures, but they are less common in bite splints, because they have a high shrinkage, usually have an artificial smell and taste and even after the insertion of further monomers they still release monomers to the body, which can cause allergies and is unhealthy.
The residual monomer content is lower in hot polymers than in cold polymers, but the production process takes a little longer. In both, two components are mixed together. MMA (liquid) and a PMMA (powder), which then enter into a chemical reaction with each other, resulting in chain extensions and cross-linking, before an inhibitor finally stops the reaction.
In the case of hot polymers, the process is set in motion by the supply of heat, in the case of cold polymers by a chemical additive (for example dimethylparatoluidine). In light-curing resins, the polymerization reaction is initiated by the supply of light. Such plastics can contain camperquinone as a catalyst.
Frequently, one can also choose whether one prefers a harder or a softer splint. A softer one is often perceived as less disturbing, but is less used as a bite splint, because the material yields faster. Especially if the splint is also used to treat temporomandibular joint complaints, a hard one is preferable to a soft one. After wearing the splint several times during the night, one gets used to it and will not find it disturbing after a period of getting used to it. Especially when you notice that muscle tensions are getting better and the symptoms caused by bruxism disappear, you will like wearing it even more.