Occlusal Splint Vs Night Guard: What’s the difference?
An occlusal splint is a dental appliance made out of acrylic resin that is custom-fitted to be worn over the occlusal to protect the wearer’s teeth and jaw. Occlusal splints are removable and ideal for patients who suffer from bruxism, or teeth and jaw clenching. There are various splint types, each with their own uses. Depending on the requirements of each patient, dentists will be able to recommend the right one. Dentists may advise wearing dental splints for a variety of reasons, including:
- Sleep apnea
- Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder
- Jaw joint inflammation and headaches
A night guard, also called a mouth guard or occlusal guard, is also suitable for individuals who are suffering from bruxism. Although night guards may not eliminate all symptoms, they do help protect the teeth from further damage while sleeping. A mouth guard helps protect the teeth from any sort of physical impact. Along with protecting the teeth from grinding, just like a dental splint, mouth guards are designed to provide lower jaw movement. But they may not be suitable for people with jaw problems.
Do you need an occlusal splint or night guard?
An occlusal splint and mouth guard both serve different purposes. While a mouth guard protects the wearer’s teeth from any impact that can be caused during sporting activities, an occlusal splint helps prevent movements within the mouth when sleeping. Between a splint vs night guard, a dentist or orthodontist can recommend the orthodontic treatment option that is best for an individual based on their overall dental health. Here are some of the pros and cons of both an occlusal splint and a mouth guard:
Pros of occlusal splint
Here are some of the few benefits of wearing an occlusal splint:
- It provides a safe and effective way to prevent teeth from grinding or clenching.
- A dental splint can be custom-fitted to match the shape of the patient’s teeth.
- They are available in a variety of types designed to limit the movement of the jaw, separate teeth, and relax the muscles.
- In some instances, Patients with awake bruxism have also benefited from an occlusal splint.
Cons of occlusal splint
Here are some of the cons of wearing an occlusal splint:
- May cause mandibular displacement.
- Wearing a dental splint for a long time period may cause unstable occlusion.
- If an occlusal is not fitted properly then it can cause facial pain.
Pros of night guards
Here are some of the advantages of wearing night or mouth guards:
- Night guards are suitable for patients who are experiencing jaw pain in their TMJ area.
- An efficient and low-cost solution to prevent the jaw movement from getting worse.
- Helps to prevent enamel erosion.
Cons of night guards
Here are some of the disadvantages of wearing night guards:
- Can be uncomfortable if they are not customized based on the patient’s mouth.
- Patients may have to wait several weeks to get custom night guards.
- Mouth guards may require replacement overtime.