Splint therapy with plastic overlay as occlusal splints is usually used to treat dysfunctional diseases of the masticatory system. It is aimed at treating malocclusions and misalignments of the jaw in a targeted manner using the various forms of splints. Splints are often also used to relieve the jaw joints in chronic degenerative or rheumatoid diseases.
The aim is to restore unrestricted chewing and relaxed musculature.
Why wear a splint?
Each tooth and its antagonist in the opposite jaw serve the purpose of grinding our food. Splint therapy becomes necessary when this interaction is restricted or prevented by malocclusion and results in incorrect loading of the jaw (craniomandibular dysfunctions or CMD for short). Responsible can be simply stress, which makes a splint necessary to counteract the widespread bruxism (grinding or pressing). The aim is to achieve natural and unrestricted movement of the lower jaw and at the same time a relaxed and coordinated jaw musculature, as well as, from an aesthetic point of view, a radiant and appealing smile. The therapy is absolutely recommended for young patients as well as for patients of increasing age, since the consequential damages, which result from missing, too high as well as wrong load of teeth, jaw, musculature et cetera , can only be repaired by far more time- and cost-intensive dental interventions than the wearing of splints, for example by the physiotherapy for jaw diseases. .
Start of the treatment and the different forms of splints
Depending on the situation in the jaw, different forms of therapy are offered. In initial tests, the aim is to identify the causes and consequences of the muscular problems of the jaw in order to define an appropriate form of therapy based on this. The standard procedure here is to insert cotton rolls (cotton roll test) into the relaxed mouth for several minutes and then perform certain movements of the jaw to determine disturbances in the patient's closing and chewing behavior. The aim of the reflex splint is to load and unload specific areas of the jaw. It is worn for only a few hours a day. If, on the other hand, the focus is more on lateral compensation, the Aqualizer, which consists of interconnected water pads, is recommended. This flexible type of splint is particularly suitable for rapid changes in the interaction between the upper and lower jaws. Finally, there is the standard type of splint, which is particularly sustainable and individually adaptable in the course of treatment, and which achieves its goal by evenly supporting the opposing jaws. The standard type is used, for example, in the case of bruxism (grinding or pressing). Only after successful splint therapy are steps such as compensation of the tooth height by restoration or grinding as well as orthodontic interventions considered.
Our teeth and their influence on the body
The complex system of our body consisting of bones, muscles and tendons interacts with each other. Misalignments of the teeth or dysfunctional diseases of the masticatory system thus have an enormous influence on the entire body and vice versa. The various findings, from crossbite to overbite or midline deviation to open bite, are thus not only problems that can take the shine off a smile or impair chewing. They can be the cause of minor complaints such as neck tension or more serious ones such as tinnitus or pelvic obliquity.