A grinding splint is a plastic splint made individually for the patient's teeth. It is used in dentistry as an important therapeutic aid to reduce existing complaints and incorrect loads in the area of the teeth, the jaws and the temporomandibular joints.
Synonymous with the term crunch splint, the terms bite splint, night splint, bite splint or CMD splint are used.
Grinding splints are mainly used to relieve symptoms of teeth grinding (Bruxism) used.Since this disease occurs mainly at night during sleep, it is usually worn at this time. Due to the grinding of teeth at night, there are functional disorders in the area of the jaw joints, the teeth and the masticatory muscles. These can spread to the whole body and cause various ailments and diseases there.
Who needs a grinding splint?
The indications for a grinding splint are diverse. Basically, they should improve the interaction between the jaw joints and the masticatory muscles. Using splint therapy, the contact between the upper and lower teeth (occlusion) can be improved. This reduces teeth grinding and prevents further damage to teeth, masticatory muscles and jaw joints. The main area of application of the grinding splint is in the therapy of teeth grinding.
This is an unconscious, mostly nocturnal pressing and rubbing between the upper and lower teeth. The causes are usually strong psychological and physical stress such as professional or personal stress. The result is various damage to teeth (e.g. fractures or increased abrasion of the teeth), jaw joints and masticatory muscles (e.g. problems with eating, as well as with the jaw opening and closing).
In addition to treating teeth grinding, the grinding splints are also used to compensate for misalignments or disproportions between the upper and lower jaw. This is known as craniomandibular dysfunction (CMD). With a predominant CMD, problems arise in the area of the temporomandibular joints and the masticatory muscles, which cause a variety of diseases within the body. These include chronic headaches, tension in the neck and shoulder muscles, earache, inflammation of the temporomandibular joint or tinnitus.
The use of a grinding splint can be helpful in CMD treatment, as it reduces the symptoms and possible consequential damage of teeth grinding and it helps to correct jaw misalignments.
Cost of a grinding splint
The costs depend on the complexity of the treatment and the plastic materials used (softer or harder plastics). In addition, it depends on which types of grinding splints are required by the patient. A distinction is made between the unadjusted splint and the adjusted splint.
In the unadjusted variant, a simple plastic arch is placed over the rows of teeth. This should relax the masticatory muscles and prevent further wear and tear on the teeth.
Adjusted gnash splints are more complex and guide the two jaws in an optimal bite position to one another, which optimizes their position in the jaw joint. This can reduce teeth grinding and relax the jaw muscles.
For this type of splint it is necessary to obtain an exact model of the patient's jaw from a dental impression so that the splint can be fitted as precisely as possible.
Such splints can cost up to 500 € (however, the statutory health insurance companies usually contribute to the costs if a clear diagnosis is available).
Who bears the costs?
After the dentist has submitted an individual treatment and cost plan, the costs are fully covered by statutory and private health insurance companies. An additional payment on the part of the patient is usually not necessary.
If a more complex grinding splint is required due to the symptoms, special measurement and diagnostic techniques may be necessary for production. These are not covered by statutory health insurance and must be paid by the patient himself. In this regard, the patient should be informed about the benefits and costs by his dentist in advance of the treatment.
Who pays if I lose the splint?
If you lose it, you have to rely on the goodwill of your health insurance company. The latter is not obliged to assume the full cost of a lost rail. Before going to the dentist for treatment, you should clarify whether you will be reimbursed with your health insurance company in advance.
Cleaning the grinding splint
Cleaning is relatively uncomplicated and should be done at least once a day after wearing using a non-abrasive toothpaste and toothbrush. Thorough cleaning prevents the accumulation of bacteria that can lead to tooth decay or other diseases (e.g. inflammation of the gums).
In order to prevent discoloration or solid deposits from occurring, it is advisable to place the splint in a denture cleaning solution every two days. The splint is either placed in a water glass or in a storage box filled with water and a denture cleaning tablet is added. After the exposure time specified on the package insert for the tablet, the splint can then be cleaned again using a toothbrush.
Read on under: Cleaning the rail
Keep the grinding splint
The splint should be kept in an airtight box filled with water during the day. Braces boxes have proven to be useful because they are inexpensive on the one hand and offer enough space on the other. We recommend storing it in a damp place, as this makes it easier to insert and prevents the material from drying out (which can lead to deformation when dry).
Can you make a grinding splint yourself?
A grinding splint should never be made by yourself, as it can only fulfill its function if it is precisely adapted to the patient's teeth. A self-made, not exactly fitting splint leads to a worsening of the existing conditions and can lead to immense damage in the entire mouth, neck and head area.
In addition, the plastic material, which can be freely bought in stores, is not suitable for staying in the mouth and is usually very soft and therefore completely unsuitable. These materials cannot withstand the high chewing pressure when crunching, which means that they break or break very quickly.
Pain from grinding splint
Pain should not occur when wearing. In the first few days, the chewing and jaw muscles may be slightly irritated, as they are exposed to different stimuli due to the new, changed jaw position. Pressure points can occasionally appear in the area of the gums and the oral mucosa.
You can find more about this at: Pain from the occlusal splint
Does a grinding splint help against snoring?
A grinding splint cannot be used for therapy against snoring. There are special splints for this in dentistry, which are called snoring splints or protrusion splints.
These consist of two articulated, interconnected plastic splints that push the lower jaw a little further forward (protrusion). This improves the flow of air, improves breathing and reduces snoring.
You might also be interested in: Snoring - what to do?
What alternatives to the grinding splint are there?
In addition to or instead of splint therapy, alternative treatment methods can of course also be used. Since the grinding of teeth is often due to psychological and physical stress such as stress or chronic stress, various types of relaxation techniques can be used to alleviate the symptoms. In addition to yoga, physiotherapeutic measures or meditation, specific psychotherapy can be helpful.
A relatively new treatment method is the use of Botox® injections. The substance botulinum toxin (Botox) is injected into the chewing and jaw muscles. This leads to a partial paralysis or relaxation of the muscles mentioned, so that teeth grinding no longer occurs.
The disadvantages of the above-mentioned method are, in addition to the high costs (approx. 300-700 euros per syringe), the temporary effectiveness of the substance, which is why a new syringe therapy must be carried out after 5 - 6 months. Since the botulinum toxin is a neurotoxin, too frequent administration should be discouraged.
Side effects of the grinding splint
As a rule, side effects only occur very rarely when wearing the grinding splint. The plastics used to manufacture the rails are all colorless, transparent and tasteless, which prevents allergic reactions. There may be pressure points when worn. These are caused by changes in the shape of the jaw (e.g. bone loss in old age) and the muscles (muscle regression). The dentist can remove these areas at a check-up appointment and thus restore the splint's exact fit.
Gnash splint in the upper or lower jaw
The splints can be worn both in the upper jaw and in the lower jaw. They are mainly worn in the lower jaw, as only this is anchored in the skull via the temporomandibular joint. Splint therapy can be used to free the lower jaw from its usual interlocking with the upper jaw. This means that the lower jaw can adopt a different position in relation to the upper jaw, in which the masticatory muscles and the temporomandibular joints are relaxed. This position is called the resting position or the resting bite position.