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Unique Dental Laboratory Thursday, December 22nd, 2022

Dental splints Vs Mouth Guard: What’s the difference?

Dental splints or mouth guards are recommended to the patient suffering from TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) to help relieve and improve the condition. Depending on the situation of the patient’s teeth the right one can help relieve TMJ symptoms and improve dental and overall health. The difference between tmj splint vs mouth guard is that a guard protects the teeth, while a  splint holds two parts together to prevent unwanted or harmful movement.

Dental Splints

Dental splints are available in various styles and help relieve jaw pain caused by TMJ by supporting and stabilizing the mouth’s muscles and joints to prevent malocclusion or the incorrect positioning of teeth when the jaw is closed. In comparison to mouth guards, splints provide greater vertical support. Splits are often prescribed for people who clench their teeth which can wear or break down natural teeth or damage dental implants. In some cases of sleep apnea, dental splints can be a better option for a patient rather than a CPAP machine. 

Mouth Guards

For patients suffering from bruxism ( a condition involving chronic teeth grinding or clenching) a night guard provides much-needed relief. A  mouth guard will cover both the patient’s teeth and gums to prevent lips, gums, and teeth injury and also absorb shock from blows and falls. Mouth guards are custom-made after taking an impression of your mouth. 


Some common types of dental splints.

There are various types of dental splints available and the dental splint cost will vary depending on the type or style of splints: 

  • Stabilization or flat plane splint: These splints cover all the upper teeth, and its flat surface is designed to reduce tooth grinding and help relax the patient’s sore jaw muscles. But, it does not prevent tooth clenching as the lower teeth can still be in contact with it. Therefore, in some patients, their situation can be aggravated by the splints.
  • Anterior bite plane: This type of splints fits on the upper jaw and makes contact with only the six lower front teeth meaning it keeps the posterior teeth from touching and prevents both clenching and grinding. 
  • NTI-tss (Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition Tension Suppression System): The NTI dental appliance is designed to prevent tooth clenching and grinding which fits on the upper front teeth. However, as it fits on only a few teeth, it can create stress on them which can be harmful. 
  • Repositioning splint: Repositioning splints are used to move the patient’s lower jaw either forward or backward to create a better jaw position. However, there is also a dental splint side effect that prolonged use (over six weeks) raises the risk of permanent changes in the patient’s bite that can result in long-term damage to the joint requiring further treatment.

Orthodontic splints: Orthodontic splints also known as aligners, correct dental problems and provide a completely invisible treatment. These are removable devices and depending on the condition can be changed every 7 to 15 days. Orthodontic splints are prescribed after a detailed examination of the patient and initial testing to determine if the patient is ready to start treatment.

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