A mouth guard and a bite splint are not necessarily the same dental appliance. They shouldn’t be used as interchangeable terms. A custom mouth guard will provide protection while a bite splint secures two parts in place to discourage movement during the healing phase, to prevent injury.
Either a dentist or a lab technician can construct a bite splint out of a hard, durable acrylic. In the dental office, it can either be crafted chairside, or your dentist may take a mouth impression and send it to a dental laboratory. A custom bite splint can be used for several dental applications, but the most common use is to manage the harmful effects of teeth grinding and to support the joints and facial muscles as they heal after injury.
Bite splints help with stress management. When some patients experience times of stress, they sometimes unknowingly take it out on their teeth by clenching facial muscles and teeth grinding. This puts a lot of damaging pressure on jaw joints and teeth. To reverse the negative impact, your dentist can place a bite splint between the upper and lower teeth to prevent grinding.
Mouth guards are designed to help protect your teeth and gums from dental trauma. Over-the-counter devices are available without a dentist visit. But, a custom mouth guard that is professionally made from an impression of your mouth will provide the best protection.
Mouth guards or sports guards are built to protect teeth from hard impacts during physical activity and contact sports. Night guards are worn during sleep to help alleviate symptoms of sleep apnea, TMJ and teeth grinding. A night guard won’t always cure teeth clenching and bruxism, but it does protect teeth, jaw joints, and facial muscles from further damage. A night guard can also prevent pain in the face and joints, and headaches that are caused primarily by nighttime clenching and teeth grinding.