Because of their stressful lives these days, says Dr. Jacques Hébert, many people are told that they need to have occlusal splints. In this report, Dr. Hébert explains occlusal splints and their uses.
Dr. Hébert says that occlusal splints are made from acrylics and are made to fit over the masticating surfaces of a patient’s teeth. The usual reason a splint is prescribed is to protect against bruxism. An appliance like this should only be worn at night. Dr. Hébert notes that these appliances do not eliminate the pressure caused by teeth clenching. The appliances only protect the teeth.
Dr. Hébert says that there are basically two types of occlusal splints. One type, the one previously described, is the splint designed to protect against bruxism. The other type is an appliance designed for daytime wear, or even 24 hour wear. These appliances are designed to protect against more issues than bruxism. A good diagnosis is important before such appliances are prescribed.
The daytime appliances should not be worn for longer than four months, Dr. Hébert explains. The reason for this is that, after six or seven months of constant use, an appliance like this can lead to changes in the jawbone that affect a patient’s bite. The teeth may no longer close, and that condition can require further treatment. It is possible that the wrong appliance can make a patient’s obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) worse. A patient needs to be checked for OSA before a daytime appliance is prescribed.
Dr. Hébert says that his clinic always does a complete examination of a patient before even a simple nighttime appliance is prescribed. “Everybody needs to have a good appliance, but worn for the right reason.”
Dr. Jacques Hébert, of Centre Dentaire Fancelli near Montreal in Longueuil, Quebec, Canada, graduated from Laval University in Quebec City in 1981, Dr. Jacques Hébert is a multidisciplinary residency at the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal the following year. His areas of predilection are the joint treatment, cosmetic dentistry and implantology and laser treatments. Dr. Hébert is a graduate of the prestigious Institute for Advanced Dental Dawson Studies in Florida. Sleep Better TV is a featured network of Sequence Media Group.