Pain from an occlusal splint
A bite splint is a dental appliance that is made of plastic and adapted to the patient's individual dental arch. For this reason, the jaw must be cast before manufacturing (Imprint). The jaw model on which the bite splint is made is then poured in the dental laboratory.
Bite splints are mainly used in dentistry to treat diseases of the jaw joint. The classic indication (reason) for the use of such notes is excessive grinding of teeth (technical term: Bruxism) at night.
Therapy with an occlusal splint is used to relieve excessive and / or incorrect loading of the teeth and the temporomandibular joint, the effects of which can in some cases severely limit the quality of life of the patient concerned. Such an incorrect load can, for example, lead to frequent headaches or muscle pain in the area of the temporomandibular joints. These problems can be treated particularly effectively by regularly wearing an occlusal splint.
In general, there is no need to make a separate bite splint for the upper and lower jaw, because wearing one half of the jaw is usually sufficient to achieve the desired therapeutic success.
Since excessive emotional or physical stress often leads to teeth grinding, relaxation techniques in addition to splint therapy are very useful.
Read more about this under. What helps against grinding teeth?
How can pain occur when wearing the occlusal splint?
The use of an occlusal splint does not usually cause pain. On the contrary, wearing an occlusal splint on a regular basis greatly reduces the symptoms of incorrect jaw loading.
Stress-related headaches quickly and rapidly decrease under the therapy and problems in the area of the temporomandibular joint are effectively reduced. In many cases, these problems can even be eliminated completely.
At the beginning of the treatment, there can only be a sometimes strong feeling of pressure, which decreases the longer it is worn, as the teeth and their holding apparatus have to get used to the splint.
Pain in the gums from an occlusal splint
In the case of occlusal splints that cause pain in the gum area, wear should be discontinued for the time being and an appointment should be made with the treating dentist. Since the splint is usually too long or has sharp edges in such a case, irritation or damage to the gums can occur with continued use. In addition, over a longer period of time there can be strong pressure and thus receding of the gums. This, in turn, can lead to exposed tooth necks and pain. In such cases, the consumption of hot and / or cold food and drinks becomes increasingly unpleasant.
For this reason, the occlusal splint must be corrected afterwards. As a rule, sanding the protruding edges is sufficient. In some cases, however, a new splint must be made.
Aching teeth from wearing a splint
An occlusal splint is actually there to relieve pain in the temporomandibular joint, musculature and tooth region, but it is not uncommon for users to complain of toothache from this plastic splint. The patient's complaints usually occur in the morning after wearing the splint and affect individual teeth or groups of teeth. The quality of the pain corresponds to severe pressure pain and is increasingly uncomfortable for the patient, as it appears more frequently when chewing.
If the discomfort occurs on individual teeth or groups of teeth, this indicates that the splint was not optimally ground in during integration. The sore teeth have too much contact and have to compensate for all the force exerted by the chewing apparatus at night. As a result, not only the individual teeth hurt, but also the entire tooth-holding apparatus, since the affected teeth are always pressed into the tooth socket with increasing force.
This can overstrain the teeth holding apparatus and become inflamed. Furthermore, the nerve inside the tooth can become inflamed as a result of the excessive stress and thereby die. Consequently, in this case, the patient feels a strong throbbing pain.
Read on under: Root inflammation
Grinding the splint afterwards can usually not save the tooth after an inflammation of the dental pulp and a root canal treatment is the mandatory therapy to alleviate the symptoms.
As a general rule, as soon as symptoms arise after fitting a new occlusal splint, the treating dentist should be consulted immediately so that he can grind the splint optimally and the pain disappears quickly and permanently.
Temporomandibular joint pain from wearing a splint
The temporomandibular joint is often the focus when it comes to pain in the head and neck area. Making an occlusal splint is supposed to alleviate the discomfort, but in some cases wearing the splint has no effect.
If the osteoarthritis of the temporomandibular joint (due to the deformation of the joint surfaces or the joint disc) is very advanced, splint therapy alone cannot achieve pain relief. In these cases, minimally invasive operations are used to try to minimize the discomfort of the temporomandibular joint. If this is unsuccessful, a surgical transplant of an artificial joint must be carried out as a form of therapy or supported with the help of transplants such as the fibular transplant. A complete alleviation of symptoms is possible.
The bite splint can also cause discomfort in the temporomandibular joint if it has not been individually made to fit perfectly. This can occur because the patient did not bite properly when taking the impression at the dentist's. When taking the bite, the aim is to determine the normal, non-displaced jaw closure so that the splint does not interfere with wear and is evenly loaded.
Poor integration due to incorrect grinding can also lead to overloading of a temporomandibular joint, resulting in severe pain. The pain mainly occurs in the morning after wearing the splint, but can be quickly minimized by subsequent grinding and the correct bite situation.