Occlusal Splints & Night Guards


At Crows Nest Dentists, we use the latest dental technology to offer pain relief and help protect your teeth from wear and damage caused by teeth grinding and clenching. 

Occlusal splints (also known as night guards) are regularly used for this treatment and can also be used as a preventative measure. Learn more about why an occlusal splint might be right for you.

What is an occlusal splint?

Occlusal splints are dental devices that have been designed to help protect teeth from grinding or clenching. They may also be used to help alleviate strain and stress on your jaw and muscles. An occlusal splint is custom made for each patient and also removable. It’s commonly worn in the evenings while sleeping, but may also be worn during the daytime during periods of heavy concentration (that may be linked to clenching and grinding).

Occlusal splints are commonly made out of acrylic, but at Crows Nest Dentists we’ve recently found a new material that is much stronger than acrylic, known as 3D printed Nylon. Due to their superior strength, Nylon splints can be made thinner and thus be more comfortable for sleeping in.

How does an occlusal splint help?

Headache caused from teeth grindingAn occlusal splint can be useful in helping to manage symptoms related to bruxism, which is excessive teeth grinding or clenching that is not a part of normal chewing movements. When you grind or clench your teeth, it can cause significant stress on your jaw joint, leading to pain and discomfort.

This unnecessary pressure can damage your teeth over time, leading to wear, cracks, or even fractures. To minimise these negative outcomes, an occlusal splint provides a cushioning barrier between your upper and lower teeth, reducing the impact and pressure on your teeth and jaw.

In addition to protecting your teeth and jaw joint, an occlusal splint can also help alleviate related symptoms such as headaches, jaw pain, and earaches. With regular use, patients often report improved sleep quality and overall well-being.

How do I know whether I need an occlusal splint?

While there are certain symptoms to look out for when considering whether you might need an occlusal splint, the first point of call should be to book an appointment with a dentist. A dental professional will be able to, as a part of a routine check-up, assess the state of your oral health, noticing any signs of bruxism, such as unusual wear and tear to teeth (chips & fractures)  and bruises or marks on your cheeks and tongue. You can also chat to your dentist about symptoms that you might be experiencing such as: 

  • Headaches, earaches and  jaw pain 
  • Difficulty sleeping 
  • Increased sensitivity of your teeth 
  • Restricted movement when trying to open and close your mouth

Another indication that you may need an occlusal splint is if you’re experiencing a large amount of stress or anxiety in your daily life. Bruxism is often associated with stress and may present itself as a subconscious way of coping with anxiety. Again, a dental professional should be able to validate this for you based on physical evidence.

How do I get an occlusal splint?

Start by making an appointment to see a dentist. Once it has been confirmed that there is a need for an occlusal splint, whether to address an existing issue or for usage as a preventative measure, the process can begin.

length of time to get an occlusal splint

It usually takes at least two appointments to get an occlusal splint as it needs to be custom-made to fit your mouth.

Your first appointment

The first appointment will usually include an assessment and diagnosis of the problem, as well as scans of your teeth using special intra-oral scanning technology. There is no longer a need to have moulds taken, so no more mouths full of cold moulding paste.

Your follow-up appointment

After 1-3 weeks (depending on the type of splint to be made), your custom splint should be ready to pick up. In your follow up appointment, the splint will be tested within your mouth to ensure that it fits correctly and is comfortable. 

At Crows Nest Dentists, we’ll run through a care management plan for your splint to ensure you get maximum usage and value from your splint. 

Ongoing care for your occlusal Splint

Cleaning your occlusal splint or night guard

To ensure that your occlusal splint is in good working order and still meets your required needs, it’s important to consider the following.

Regular visits for your splint

In check-up appointments with your dentist, bring your splint in case any adjustments are needed. It’s also important that you bring it, in case any other dental work is required that may result in the splint needing an adjustment.

Ongoing usage of your splint

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to wear your splint every now and again, otherwise you run the risk of your teeth moving and your splint subsequently not fitting. You should try wear your splint at least fortnightly to combat this. Failure to do so may result in the need for the readjustment of your current splint or the creation of an entirely new one. This will incur additional costs.

Cleaning your splint

Noone wants to be putting an item that is dirty and unhygienic into their mouth. To keep your splint clean, brush it with a toothbrush and any soap or gentle detergent daily. In addition, you can also place your splint in a denture cleaning solution (like Sterident) with cold water for about one hour each week. Do not use toothpaste on your splint as this can stain the material. Despite your cleaning efforts, it’s expected that your splint will stain over time.

Overall shelf-life for your splint

A splint lasts on average between 4 – 7 years. With the right maintenance and care, you’ll be sure to get the best results.

How much does an occlusal splint cost?

The cost of an occlusal splint  can vary depending on what type of splint is required and your private insurance coverage. On average, the cost can range from $700 – $1000.

Get help with an occlusal splint today

If you are experiencing symptoms of bruxism, it is important to get treatment as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your teeth and jaw. 

Get in touch to discuss the best treatment options for you and the associated costs

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