Teeth grinding during sleep is often caused by stress and anxiety but it can also result from malocclusions. A bite splint protects the teeth from excessive abrasion and allows the muscles to relax.
At night, during sleep, we digest our emotions. They also say, in some situations, we have to „grit our teeth“. People often grind their teeth unknowingly during sleep. That’s why many patients become aware that they grind their teeth when there are already visible damages on the teeth or if they develop headache.
Headache or neck pain may result from the tension of the face and chewing muscles while grinding the teeth. Pressure and strain may also damage the jaw joints which begin to hurt and are not able to move correctly. When the patient opens his mouth, there can be a clicking sound. In an extreme case, it is not possible to open or close the mouth completely.
There are some typical results of a local overload such as
- cracks in the enamel which can be seen on the front teeth. Parts of enamel can even erupt. The cutting edges of the teeth look irregular.
- gum inflammation as a result of overloaded periodontium. This may cause dull pain, loose teeth and inflamed gums.
- eroded surfaces, especially noticeable on front and canine teeth. When moving the jaw, these surfaces fully match like a lock and a key.
For those who suffer from teeth grinding, a plastic bite splint which is mostly used at night can be a quick relief. It is normally worn on the lower jaw because of the better tolerance. To fabricate a bite splint, it is necessary to make a moulding of the both jaws and a bite test and to measure the jaw joint. Then, using these mouldings, the dental technician will manufacture an individual bite splint for the patient. Every bite splint requires an individual preliminary model.