Bruxism and Occlusal Devices
Bruxism is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth when you're awake (awake bruxism) or clench or grind them during sleep (sleep bruxism).
Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-related movement disorder. People who clench or grind their teeth (brux) during sleep are more likely to have other sleep disorders, such as snoring and pauses in breathing (sleep apnea).
Mild bruxism may not require treatment. However, in some people, bruxism can be frequent and severe enough to lead to jaw disorders, headaches, damaged teeth and other problems.
Because you may have sleep bruxism and be unaware of it until complications develop, it's important to know the signs and symptoms of bruxism and to seek regular dental care.
An occlusal splint or orthotic device is a specially designed mouth guard for people who grind their teeth, have a history of pain and dysfunction associated with their bite or temporomandibular joints (TMJ), or have completed a full mouth reconstruction. An occlusal splint is custom-made using detailed study models on an instrument called an articulator that simulates the movement of the jaws. The occlusal splint is made from a processed acrylic resin and is designed to guide the jaw as it moves side-to-side and front-to-back. This precise custom orthotic device not only protects the teeth from harmful habits, but it supports the TMJ and the muscles that are used in chewing.